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Located on the border of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, Hovenweep National Monument is a historical gem architecturally and culturally. This site, with six prehistoric, Puebloan-era villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons, beckons historians, archaeologists, nature lovers, and photography enthusiasts alike.

History The word ‘Hovenweep’ translates to ‘deserted valley’ in the Ute language and indeed, it accurately represents the remarkable ruins dating back to the 13th-century Ancestral Puebloans. It is believed that once a highly vibrant and bustling hub of farming communities, the area was abandoned due to prolonged drought and resource scarcity, leaving behind impressive stone structures as evidence of their refined masonry skills and the society’s complexity.

How to Get There The easiest way to reach Hovenweep National Monument is by car. The Monument is located about 40 miles from Cortez, Colorado. From Cortez, take Highway 491 to Highway 262, then follow the signs to Hovenweep. The Monument’s isolation contributes significantly to its charm but means public transportation options are limited.

List of Attractions

  1. Square Tower Group: The largest collection of buildings and home to the visitor center.
  2. Hiking Trails: Explore the two-mile round trip trail that winds around significant structures.
  3. Other Village Groups: Visit the lesser-known Cajon, Cutthroat Castle, Goodman Point, Hackberry, and Holly groups using nearby trailheads.
  4. Stargazing: As a certified International Dark Sky Park, it provides a clear view of celestial wonders.

Ticket Information Hovenweep National Monument does not charge an entrance fee. However, donations are welcome and are used for the maintenance and preservation of the site.

List of Tips for Visiting

  1. Validate the timings before visiting, as the monument’s visitor center has varied timings according to seasons.
  2. Wear suitable walking shoes for trails have uneven surfaces.
  3. Bring plenty of water, especially if you’re planning to hike, as the desert climate can be deceptively dehydrating.
  4. Remember to respect the ancient structures; climbing, sitting on walls, or disturbing ruins is forbidden.
  5. Stay on marked paths to protect both the site and local wildlife.
  6. Carry binoculars for birdwatching as the monument is a habitat for a variety of birds.
  7. For photographers and astronomers, a clear night can provide both stunning sunset vistas and a dazzling celestial display.

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
  • Thursday09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
  • Friday09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
  • Saturday09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
  • Sunday09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
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