Located in Southwestern Colorado, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument spans 176,000 acres of land and protects the cultural and natural ruins and resources in that area.

1. Canyons of the Ancients is located in the Four Corners area of Southwestern Colorado.

flickr - Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - Bureau of Land Management
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management (flickr)

The Four Corners area of Colorado and neighboring states offers a wealth of information about the people who lived there thousands of years ago. There are many incredible sites to visit to experience the rich history of the area including the nearby Mesa Verde National Park.

2. The National Monument is estimated to have 30,000 archaeological sites within its borders.

Graeme Churchard - Canyons of the Ancients - flickr
Canyons of the Ancients. Photo credit: Graeme Churchard (flickr)

Archeologists have recorded more than 6,300 sites of historical significance and estimate that there are 30,000 within the National Monument. These sites include entire villages, cliff dwellings, shrines, petroglyphs, and great kivas.

3. The area was home to humans, including the Ancestral Puebloan people, for 10,000 years.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - Bureau of Land Management - flickr
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management (flickr)

The land preserved by the National Monument has been popular for far longer than we’ve been enjoying its history. The area has been inhabited or used by humans for thousands of years. The inhabitants include the Ancestral Puebloan people who called much of the Four Corners region home.

4. Canyons of the Ancients is open year-round for hiking and mountain biking.

Graeme Churchard - Canyons of the Ancients - flickr
Canyons of the Ancients. Photo credit: Graeme Churchard (flickr)

Take the 6.5-mile Sand Canyon Trail and view the Sand Canyon Pueblo adjacent to the trailhead before beginning your hike. Another wheelchair-accessible trail takes you to the Lowry Pueblo — a stabilized and excavated site featuring eight kivas and a Great Kiva.

5. You should visit the nearby Anasazi Heritage Center.

Anasazi Heritage Center - teofilo - flickr
Anasazi Heritage Center. Photo credit: teofilo (flickr)

The Anasazi Heritage Center is located about twenty miles from the entrance to the National Monument. It’s well worth the visit for anyone interested in the rich history of the area and the Ancestral Puebloan people. This is also where you can get maps and trail conditions for the National Monument.

6. Be sure to bring your own water, food, and other amenities.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - Bureau of Land Management - flickr
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management (flickr)

Colorado is known for its sunshine and the southwestern part of the state can be very hot and dry depending on when you visit. Make sure to bring adequate water and food to keep you hydrated and energized as you visit the historical sites, as there are no amenities available at the monument. 

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