"Little Ruin Canyon" Hovenweep National Monument Travelogue by KiKitC

Stronghold House

The Little Ruin Canyon offers a walking trail through history. Here, I have offered information about the different structures here.

A short, easy distance from the visitor's center, the first structure that you come to is the Stronghold House. It is accessible by wheelchair and offers a great view of a good portion of the valley.

It was named so because of a fortress-like construction. It may have been built that way due to the terrain or even for aesthetic purposes.

The structure once was built over the steep slope below and was a multi story dwelling. The supporting beams have rotted away over the centuries, and most of this unit has tumbled into the valley.

Boulder House

The eroded Boulder House uses the huge rock as it's walls and roof. On top of this boulder is evidence of stones where possibly a tower stood. I think this house may have been the inspiration for the Flintstone's house...don't you?

Tower Point

The view from Tower Point is commanding...offering views of nearly the entire "village". Many of the structures in the valley have windows facing this formidable structure, so possibly this was the signaling tower for news and events???

From this point you can also see the areas that the Puebloan people used for effective grain and food storage.

Hovenweep Castle

The people that inhabited this "castle" probably weren't regal at all, but the walls show detailed masonry techniques. Dating of timber used in this strycture date it around 1277 AD, making it one of the "newer" structures in the valley.

Evidence shows that strategically placed windows in the castle mark the equinoxes and solstices, marking important planting and harvesting times.

Square Tower

The Square Tower is two stroies tall, and situated at the foot of a plentiful seep spring. Possibly guarding this valuable water source?

A kiva was excavated next to the tower, but unlike other structures, it was not connected to the tower by a tunnel...and there is evidence that there was once a doorway facing the spring from this tower, which had been filled in.

Also, you may notice the tower has a slight spiral shape to its structure. It is possible this was done for structural strength or possibly for aesthetic purposes. I think the fact that this structure is still so in tact, is more evidence that this spiral for for strength. Think what you will.

Hovenweep House

What is still standing of this "house" was built on solid sandstone bedrock, the rest has crumbled into the valley, but this was the center of one of the larger communities in the Square Tower group. The masons took great pains, for aesthetic purposes, to "peck" the surface with decorative "carvings". Some walls may have been plastered with local muds.

Rim Rock House

The Rim Rock house may not have been a house at all, as the rectangular structure shows no evidence of room divisions and was two stories tall. Many srtaegically placed windows were incorporated into its creation...a watch tower perhaps?

Twin Towers

The Twin Towers are nearly twins. One is oval in shape, the other horseshoe. Together there are sixteen rooms.

The walls were skillfully constructed with varying thicknesses of sandstone blocks, making this one of the most carefully constructed buildings in the southwest.

From this point, the trail drops steeply 80 feet into the valley, and then climbs steeply on the other side.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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