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“Unusual ruins in the 4 corners”

Hovenweep National Monument
Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Cortez
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Located in Utah but near Cortez, this site has six ruin sites all built around 1200 AD. Hovenweep is 42 miles from Cortez, CO and approximately 48 from Blanding, UT
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
529 reviews
167 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 297 helpful votes
“Unusual ruins in the 4 corners”
Reviewed June 22, 2014

First, don't trust your Garmin or GPS! Get a map and follow the map directions.
The place is unusual. It is an isolated place and there are few services. You are out of the Cortez/Delores area by about 20 miles.
The ruins consist of towers around springs at the head of canyons. The functions of the towers are unclear. Tower masonry is in relatively good condition and shows no sign of 'heavy-handed restoration'.
The loop trail is about 2 miles long. In the afternoon photographers should go counter-clockwise for better lighting, and that shows the towers in relation to the tower clusters. Plan wide-angle photos of tower clusters; telephoto for individual towers.
Take water; there are very few trees for shade and few places to sit. Walkways are clearly marked with rocks on the sides. Plan to sit by Hovenweep Castle and watch the local raven caw for his mate.
Lowery Ruin is nearby and makes a good combination.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank SantaFeDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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458 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
85 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Hard to get to, but worth it”
Reviewed June 15, 2014

Another great archaeological site. Down 25 miles of bad gravel road, but worth the trip if your car will do it.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank richieccc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
1,321 reviews
770 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 576 helpful votes
“A great place to see Ancestral Puebloan ruins”
Reviewed June 11, 2014

The Square Tower Trail, a two-mile, self-guided loop that’s accessible from the visitor center at Hovenweep, provides a convenient way to see the numerous Ancestral Puebloan ruins along and within Little Ruin Canyon. If you need to hurry, you can easily do the loop in two hours. Colorado Jim and I weren’t in a hurry, so we jumped at the chance to take a ranger-guided tour below the canyon rim. This tour, which is normally available only to groups by reservation, follows a narrow, minimally developed trail on the canyon wall to a rock art site with petroglyphs not visible from the rim. It also offers some excellent views of the ruins from angles you can’t get on the canyon rim.

Before you head out to see the ruins, be sure to spend some time in the visitor center getting properly oriented. Hovenweep has no theater or glitzy orientation film, but the videos, exhibits and displays are interesting and helpful.

A few cautions: Your GPS won’t work in the Hovenweep vicinity, so bring your highway map or the driving directions provided on the park’s website. Also bring your water bottle and any snacks/food you may need; the visitor center has a water refill station, but no food or beverage sales. Extra caution is warranted when negotiating the steeper, rougher portion of the Square Tower Trail that is nearest to the canyon mouth. This is where, to complete the loop, you must descend into the canyon and then back up to the rim on the other side.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Citallwic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Level Contributor
1,131 reviews
727 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 507 helpful votes
“Among the best”
Reviewed June 10, 2014

Hovenweep has very unique architecture and should be de rigeuer for a visit to early puebloan ancestral life along with Aztec National Monument, Navajo National Monument, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. No one site is sufficient. Hovenweep offers a walk of an hour or two near the visitor center that affords visits of many towers and other structures. Beyond that you can go to remote sites that are less easily visited.

Visited June 2014
Thank mjrg59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palisade, Colorado
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very knowledgeable”
Reviewed June 8, 2014

Very knowledgeable staff and very helpful. Shared places to eat and visit. Highly recommend you stop in and see.

Visited June 2014
Thank Donna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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