Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument includes 176,000 acres of checkerboard federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Monument was designated on June 9, 2000, and is located in southwestern Colorado about 10 miles northwest of Cortez. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States, with more than 6,000 recorded sites. The total number of sites is estimated to be around 30,000. This phototour covers 3 of these sites, as well as the Visitor Center and Museum.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

McPhee Reservoir and the San Juans
viewed from the Visitor Center

Sleeping Ute Mountain can be seen from just about anywhere in the Monument

Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum

The Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum (formerly known as the Anasazi Heritage Center) is located 11 miles north of Cortez and about 3 miles west of Dolores on CO State Hwy 184. McPhee Reservoir is located immediately to the north and east of the visitor center. A small pueblo, Dominguez Pueblo, is located at the visitor center and Escalante Puebol is a short hike to the north. The museum contains artifacts, paintings and drawings, and exhibits about ancestral puebloan culture.

Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum
(formerly the Anasazi Heritage Center)

Dominguez Pueblo in front of the visitor center

Escalante Pueblo

"Chuska Puma" by Charles Bruce

The Dolores Archaeological Project

Museum Displays

Pit House Replica

Black on White Pottery Display

Lowry Pueblo

Lowry Pueblo is the only excavated portion of a larger pueblo town spread over a square mile located near Pleasant View, Colorado. It consists of about 40 rooms, 8 kin kivas, and a great kiva. The pueblo was constructed around AD 1080 and occupied by 40 to 100 people at a time. Lowry Pueblo exhibits both both Chaco- and Mesa Verde-style architecture. There is a well preserved kiva in the southern room block that has been roofed over and an entrance added that provides access the the kiva.

Lowry Pueblo Sign

Lowry Pueblo

Entrance to roofed portion of Lowry Pueblo

Interior of roofed portion of Lowry Pueblo

Kiva B - Note some of the original white plaster still lining the wall

Lowry Pueblo Panorama

Great Kiva at Lowry Pueblo

Painted Hand Pueblo

The Painted Hand Pueblo is another of many ruins located in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. It consists of a standing circular tower and several small room block ruins. This small village of about 20 rooms was constructed around AD 1200. It gets its name from a pictograph found there.

Circular tower at Painted Hand Pueblo

Circular tower at Painted Hand

Ruin at Painted Hand

Room block ruin?

Panoramic view from Painted Hand
Sleeping Ute Mountain on left horizon

The painted hand at Painted Hand

Sand Canyon

The Sand Canyon trail in Canyons of the Ancients has trailheads at both ends of Sand Canyon. The upper trailhead is at the canyon head off of N Road near Sand Canyon Pueblo. Sand Canyon Pueblo, mostly unexcavated, is one of the largest ancestral pueobloan villages in Colorado. The lower trailhead is off of G Road about 12 miles west of Cortez. Several cliff dwellings and pueblos, as well as a tower, can be seen along the trail.

Small ruin near the lower end of Sand Canyon

Sand Canyon with Sleeping Ute in the background

Desert Phlox

Saddlehorn Pueblo

Saddlehorn Pueblo

Corn Cob House

Double Cliff House

Tower along Sand Canyon Trail

Tower along Sand Canyon trail

Background information for this presentation was obtained from Wikipedia and online BLM sources.

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