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“More than we expected!”

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Cortez
Certificate of Excellence
Sun City, CA
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“More than we expected!”
Reviewed June 26, 2013

We did not allow enough time to see all of the ruins in this area. You are allowed to walk through them (which is unusual) so the photo ops were plentiful. The Visitors Center was helpful with maps and ideas for our "short" visit. Allow more time for yourselves. You won't be disappointed!

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Jo Ann W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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157 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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English first
New England
Level Contributor
35 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“This is a series of places, not one place”
Reviewed June 12, 2013

I was confused about this before we took our trip and now I know why. FIrst of all, this is separate from, but nearby, Hovenweep National Monument. The Canyon of Ancients National Monument includes a series of destinations including the Anasazi Heritage Center (which is also listed separately in Tripadvisor). Besides that there are three other places to visit within the area of the monument: The Lowry Pueblo, which we visited. You can drive right up to it and park and wander around the ruin. It's GREAT because there are not many people there and it's not that hard to find. The guy at Hovenweep told us about it. The other two places within this 'monument' are Painted Hand Pueblo and Sand Canyon Pueblo. These are a little more difficult to get to and we did not have the time. Here's the official website on Canyon of the Ancients: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nm/canm/blm-canm-visitor_information.html

Visited June 2013
3 Thank likes2goaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
59 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Off the Beaten Path, But Definitely Worthwhile”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

After spending a day at Mesa Verde, we took a day to tour Canyon of the Ancients, and decided to include Hovenweep in our itinerary, as well.

Although the two areas were occupied at more or less the same time, our experience at Canyon of the Ancients was nothing like what we found at Mesa Verde. There were no crowds, no ranger-led activities and, in place of Mesa Verde's famous cliff dwellings, we found ruins of structures built in the open. Although there are numerous archaeological sites in the monument, we wound up visiting only the Lowry pueblo -- one of the most-visited sites in the monument. In addition to the ruins of (apparently) residential structures, visitors will also find a integral kiva and a very large, separate Great Kiva. A large, raised shelter has been built atop the main ruins to slow erosion. (We had originally planned to visit the Sand Canyon area as well, but were just too tired to do so after exploring Lowry, then Hovenweep National Monument.)

You'll find no ranger-led interpretive programs here, but there are numerous signs posted in and around the ruins that do a good job of explaining what is known about the ethnography of the Ancestral Puebloan people who lived here 800 years ago.

The information at the monument's website can be a little off-putting, with its talk of rough roads. We found the routes we traveled to be no challenge for my low-ground-clearance coupe. And while it may be true that "most of [the] archaeological sites in this 'outdoor museum' are not apparent to the untrained eye and precise locations are not publicized," that's only due to the very large number of archaeological sites here. The knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Anasazi Heritage Center can help you plan your visit to maximize your enjoyment of the monument.

Visited May 2013
4 Thank Grumpy_Dutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Good for the soul”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

This monument is the gem of SW Colorado. Do not miss it, but go the the Anasazi Heritage Center first. The managing office for this monument is located there, and they will give you great information on visiting that huge monument. Great staff there are very helpful!

Visited May 2013
2 Thank COSprGrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carefree, AZ
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Incredibly beautiful”
Reviewed May 5, 2013

This national monument is not well known so it is not crowded like Mesa Verde, but is nevertheless beautiful and fun to explore. There are lots of hiking trails and ruins and rock art to explore. It's a huge area, so it has taken us a couple of trips to Colorado to explore it all. We're going again in a few weeks and can hardly wait.

Visited June 2012
Thank SierramomCarefree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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