Does anyone in your family love archaeology and history? If you answered yes to this question, then you must take the time to visit the Canyon of the Ancient Monuments during your next Colorado family vacation. This amazing destination has the highest number of archaeological sites when compared to anywhere else in the country.
The Canyon of the Ancient Monuments is comprised of 176,000 acres of space. It is believed that there are approximately thirty thousand ancient sites within that acreage. However, only a little more than six thousand have been documented.
You will find this beautiful area to the southwest of Denver. There are many other attractions nearby, so I recommend adding them into your adventure. The reason I say this is the drive from Denver can be long. Therefore, it is better to do as much as you can over a couple of days instead of seeing the canyon and nothing else.
This national monument is open year-round, so you can plan your visit for a time that is convenient for you. You must begin your time there at the Visitor Center. This is where you can grab a map. That map will make it easier for you to find the sites your family is interested in seeing the most.
Best Archaeological Sites to See at the Canyon of the Ancient Monuments
The Lowry Pueblo is the most popular of all the sites at the Canyon of the Ancient Monuments. This is the one that you must see if you do not plan on doing anything else in the area and are just quickly driving by. There are eight kivas within the forty-room building. This entire space has been carefully preserved and looks just as it did when it was constructed.
Sand Canyon Pueblo
Sand Canyon Pueblo is a massive village that has more than four hundred rooms. There are also fourteen towers and one hundred kivas. While this village has been excavated, you must read the signs to determine what everything is.
Painted Hand Pueblo
If you have always wanted to know what an unexcavated site looks like, you must go over to see the Painted Hand Pueblo. You won’t be able to see much of what it looked like a long time ago. However, you can tell where some rooms were located in the side of the mountain. Don’t forget to look for the small tower, because it has been there for more than one thousand years.
Helpful Tips for Visiting the Canyon of the Ancient Monuments
- Be respectful of the culture and these sacred ruins
- Do NOT dig or tamper with anything at this National Monument
- Bring lots of water – You will be doing lots of walking at a higher altitude
- Bring lunch and snacks – There is nowhere to purchase food during your visit
- Do NOT lose your map – Cell service is non-existent, and it is easy to get lost
Your family can really get a history lesson in when you are exploring the Canyon of Ancient Monuments. There is so much to see and do there, so I recommend planning on spending a couple of days there. This can really be a highlight of your next family road trip to Colorado. Let’s start planning an amazing family getaway you will remember forever by clicking here.