Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is about 45 miles from where we’re staying in Cortez, Colorado.  It is just across the border in Utah, and on the other side of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.   There are about a half a dozen ruins of what used to be Anasazi villages inside of Hovenweep.  A cluster of stone structures is just a short distance away from the park headquarters, arranged around the head of a canyon.

Square Tower Group

The reason they were built remains unknown.  As best as archaeologists can figure out they were all built within a short time span around 1150 AD and then abandoned shortly thereafter when the Puebloan indians all migrated to the Rio Grand area of New Mexico.

Twin Towers

It’s been speculated that they were defensive structures, since in many cases there are no ground floor entrances and the windows, such as they are, are narrow slits.

Remains of a building

Remains of another building

The various villages were all located near steady sources of water and the Puebloans had numerous fields nearby.  The area must have looked different then because much of the local mesa was bare stone without much in the way of soil.

Lots of bare rock near the Square Tower group

As usual, the ride there had some interesting scenery, which in itself made the trip worthwhile.

Cliffs along an arroyo beneath Ute Mountain
Water-carved caves along McElmo Creek
A herd of horses roaming along the roadside

We give Hovenweep a B+ for handicap accessibility.  There was adequate handicap parking and a reasonably good sized handicap stall in the restrooms.  The path down to the Square Tower group was concrete and although a bit steep at the beginning made it relatively easy to get Susan and her wheelchair where she could see everything reasonably well.

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