"Ancestral Lands of Puebloan People" Hovenweep National Monument by KiKitC
Hovenweep National Monument Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 47 photos
"Hovenweep" is a Ute/Paiute word meaning "deserted valley." It was given this name by William Henry Jackson, a photographer who visited here in 1874...aptly describing the very site.
Hovenweep National Monument consists the ruins of six prehistoric "villages" spread out over 20 miles in the southwest corner of Colorado and the southeast of Utah.
The most accessible of these "villages" is the Little Ruin Canyon, which sits behind the Visitors Center, and allows visitors to walk a 1.5 - 2.00 mile path around a a collection of a dozen or so ruins. Here, visitors can imagine life in the little "metropolis" of dwellings.
The people that built these structures had inhabited this area for centuries, farming and hunting these mesas. Most of the remarklable ruins in the Little Ruin Canyon were built from AD 1230 to 1275, aout the same time as the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. Like those at Mesa Verde...these dwellings were uninhabited as soon as the early 1300s.
Other ruins are spread out down dirt and unmaintained roads. That means you ned a 4WD with high clearance and knowledge of driving in these conditions. The trails to some of the ruins can be slippery, rocky and steep. Not far past the Painted Hand Pueblo, the trails turned to difficult, slickrock terrains with sections of heavy sand. Very fun, very beautiful.
Of course, you can always hike through the canyonlands. The area is harsh and dry. Watch your step, bring plenty of water, and watch for rattlesnakes.
We visited these hard to reach collections of ruins. You can start to imagine the massive population that was thrived in this area. Until, everyone just left.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is in southwest Colorado, but the Hovenweep Monument comprises many structures that are scattered throughout this canyon. There are thousands of sites offering archeological clues to past civilizations...the monuments in Hovenweep are under the National Park Services' care, whereas the ruins and archeological sites designated to the Canyons of the Ancients is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. See my Dolores, CO pages for our journey through the Canyons of the Ancients.
- Pros:Many sites to explore
- Cons:Most accessible only by 4WD (not a con for us normally)
- In a nutshell:Hovenweep is a journey back through indigenous American history.
Access into the Canyon and Hovenweep can be reached with any vehicle or motorhome. The Little Ruin Canyon is by the... more travel advice
The Holly Group's prominent features, Tilted Tower and Boulder House were inhabited between 1200 AD and 1300 AD. The... more travel advice
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