“Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. Shallow tributaries run through the wide and deep canyons into the San Juan River.
Although Hovenweep National Monument is largely known for the six groups of Ancestral Puebloan villages, there is evidence of occupation by hunter-gatherers from 8,000 to 6,000 B.C. until about AD 200. Later, a succession of early puebloan cultures settled in the area and remained until the 14th century.” ~~ Wikipedia, Hovenweep National Monument
An easy drive from Monument Valley, Utah, through the canyon and mesa country north of the San Juan River takes you into an area when the ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indian Tribes lived. Round, square and D-shaped towers located along the canyon head mark once thriving communities.
At the Hovenweep National Monument we hiked, along with Maggie, a two mile circular rim trail which took us around Little Ruin Canyon and its early puebloan ruins. The trail was easy to follow but was uneven and fairly steep at one end where it dropped down to the canyon bottom and then climbed back up the other canyon wall.
Most of these buildings were constructed from 1230 to 1275 ce (Common Era), about the same time as the famous cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.
It was an interesting and educational visit. The techniques used to build these structures seemed advanced for the times and are in amazing shape for their age.
Note: Hovenweep is a Ute word meaning “deserted valley.” It refers to a series of small river valleys that feed into lower McElmo Creek and the San Juan River from Cajon Mesa on the Utah-Colorado border.