"Staging Area for Historic Trips" Dolores by KiKitC

Dolores Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 23 photos

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

We'll cut some of the confusion regarding the differences between the Hovenweep National Monument sites and the Canyon of the Ancients sites. They are scattered throughout the same valleys. They were built during the same timeframes...and "abandoned" around the same timesframes. The peoples shared similar lifestyles and farmed and hunted the same mesas.

The difference? One is a National PARK, maintained by the National Park Service and the other is managed by the Bureau of Land Management...

The Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, covers 164,000 acres of southwest Colorado and has the highest known density of archeological sites, with 5,000 recorded and thousands more waiting for study. It is now known that this area was inhabited by the Puebloan people as early as 750 AD, farming and hunting these lands.

Many of the "villages" are accessible by most vehicles. The Lowry Pueblo can be reached with any two-wheel drive vehicle. I would suggest a four wheel drive vehicle to visit the Painted Hand Pueblo, which remains one of my favorite places on earth. Some of the more remote sites can only be accessed by high clearance four wheel drive, as the trails can get rather rutty.

What I can promise is a fantastic trip through American History, and beautiful scenery.

Anasazi Cultural Heritage Center

Begin your journey into the history of the Puebloan people at the Anasazi Cultural Heritage Center. Not only is it VERY informative, with interactive displays and exhibits...they also have the best maps and bochures of the Canyons of the Ancients.

Just behind the Anasazi Cultural Center is the Escalante Pueblo Ruin, a cliff-top dwelling which had been inhabited during different time periods. This could be your first glimpse of some of the ruins you will visit in the Canyon.

Camp under the Stars

Our first year out here, we stayed at McPhee Campground, just outside Dolores, for our staging ground for journeys to the Canyons of the Ancients, Hovenweep and Mesa Verde National Park.

The next year, we stayed at Hovenweep overnight and explored the remote canyonlands. This spiritual land will stay with you and lure you back...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:In the middle of everything...and nothing
  • Cons:In the middle of everything...and nothing
  • In a nutshell:American History in it's most primitive state.
  • Last visit to Dolores: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (8)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    What a wonder to see in person way out there. Nice job of showing the area.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    An exciting page! I love especially Painted Hand Pueblo. Great campground! And good that you were lead by a rabbit!

  • DennyP's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2009 at 3:09 AM

    Hi ..and a very interesting page with great pics and tips on this absolutely unique part of your exciting country..Thank god for National Parks..and the preservation of the past for future generations..Denny

  • wandeljp's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2009 at 2:13 AM

    Nice and interesting page, Christine. I like the tips with the animals.I Never heard about mountain lion ? How is it with you (your hand?) and the Red Rover ?

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2009 at 5:28 PM

    Christine, loved these pages. People must be "nuts" not to give your tips 4's and 5's. They are so interesting, historical, and so well written.

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2008 at 6:52 AM

    Fascinating page. This is a corner of Colorado I haven't visited - yet - but I've got a trip planned for southwest Colorado this coming summer.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2008 at 4:00 AM

    Hi,Christine! Thanx for another lovely page!

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2007 at 3:06 AM

    Wonderfully informative page. Looks a fascinating area.


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