Until about 1300 A.D., the area around Bluff was home to two distinct desert cultures, the Basket Makers and the Cliff Dwellers, also generally known as ancestral Puebloans. Today, the San Juan River community in southeastern Utah is less than 400 people. It serves as a stopping point for travelers and San Juan River enthusiasts.
Located near the center of town is Bluff Fort (1880-1883), first settled by Mormon pioneers. The sole surviving building from that time is the Barton Cabin. Other structures have been built to replicate the original layout and design of the original fort. Bluff Historic District includes the original 1880 townsite, cemetery hill, and 300-foot sandstone bluffs directly north of town which include natural features that have cultural significance. The 42 buildings in the historic district date from 1880 to the mid-1940s, most built from 1890-1905.