The Towers of Hovenweep

Saturday & Sunday, May 15-16, 2010

This last weekend Amanda and I headed south to Hovenweep National Monument and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. This is an area we have been close to many times before, but had not been to yet. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it was definitely well worth the visit, and I’m looking forward to heading back to explore more in the future!

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After setting up camp at the Hovenweep campground, we started out by making our way over to the Holly Group of ruins a few miles away. Hovenweep is a bit different from other National Parks and Monuments as it is not one large area. Hovenweep is actually comprised of six separate villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border.

Holly Tower and Holly House
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Holly House
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After visiting Holly, we backtracked to the hiking trail for both the Horseshoe and Hackberry ruins. After a nice half mile hike, we reached Horseshoe.

Round Tower perched on the canyon rim (Shiprock on the horizon).
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Horseshoe House
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We continued up the trail to Hackberry.

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After hiking back to the Jeep we then took a rougher road to the Cutthroat Castle ruins. The Cutthroat ruins were pretty cool.

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These ruins were built on an overhang with smaller ruins below.
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Our next stop was the first set of ruins that we would visit in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument; the Painted Hand Pueblo.

Great view across the Great Sage Plain to Sleeping Ute Mountain.
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Painted Hand Tower
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This tower also was built on an overhang with more ruins below it.
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A little further down the trail were the remains of another tower.
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More ruins in the area.
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Here you can see the holes ground into the back wall that helped support beams for a second story.
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Walking back past the tower on my way back, I just had to take a few more photos.

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Smaller rocks used to fill between the larger ones.
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If you look closely at this picture, you can see the finger impressions of the original builders of this tower. These kinds of things really interest me.
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After leaving Painted Hand, we decided to make one last stop in the Canyons of the Ancients at the Pedro Point Ruins before heading back to the campground for some dinner.

While there was not much left standing at the Pedro Point Ruins, you could tell this was a pretty good sized community at one time.

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There was a small tower still standing on a rock on a boulder on the floor of the canyon.
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Before we had some dinner, we explored the Holly trail near our campsite, which ended up going through a narrow gap in some boulders. Amanda took a picture of me in the slot.

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After having some dinner, we made our way over to the Square Tower group for sunset.

Plenty of ruins here in Little Ruin Canyon (Unit Type House, Twin Towers, Eroded Boulder House, Rim Rock House).
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Twin Towers
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Eroded Boulder House is one of the most interesting ruins I have seen.
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Hovenweep Castle

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It was a long day, so shortly after sunset we were back at camp and fast asleep.

On Sunday morning we were up early again to catch sunrise at the Square Tower group.

Twin Towers in the morning sunlight.
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Eroded Boulder House and Rim Rock House in the morning sun.
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After packing up camp we made our way over to the Cajon ruins.

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Before starting our way home, we had two more stops to make. The first one was the Lowry Pueblo in the Canyons of the Ancients.

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Headed into the semi-restored pueblo to check out one of the kivas.
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The light reflecting off of the walls through the doorways created a nice orange glow.

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The Great Kiva
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After our visit at the Lowry Ruins, we made one last visit to the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores before heading home.

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It turned out to be another great trip, we accomplished a lot, and we both had a ton of fun exploring Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients.

There are some more photos of ruins located in the full gallery here.


2 Comments

  1. Dianne October 30, 2017 6:28 pm  Reply

    Your photos are stunning and even dramatic in various sites. Thanks for allowing us to tag along in your adventures. I like your balance of travel, rock art, ruins, beautiful scenery, and commentary. Keep up your kind sharing of experiences!

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