SUGGESTED HERITAGE TRIPS
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Remote and starkly beautiful, Hovenweep preserves a brief chapter of Ancestral Puebloan history. Sage covers the plains to hide 20 square miles of farms and fields cultivated by early inhabitants; rubble and rock falls now disguise much of their first homes. Surviving though are six groupings of multi-storied towers, dating from the mid-thirteenth century. They stand like sentries on canyon rims guarding precious spring water. The visitors center provides seasonal interpretive programs and serves as the base to hike the two mile self guided trail to the Seven Towers Group
For an "off-the-beaten-track" experience, take a tour of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park on the southern border of Mesa Verde with a Native American Ute guide. To preserve the Ancestral Puebloan architecture, the area was set aside by the Ute Mountain Utes and is accessible to the public only through guided tours. Ute guides interpret the history, dwellings and centuries old rock art decorating the canyon walls.
The Escalante Ruin was first investigated in 1776 by the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition looking for a northern route from the New Mexico missions to the ones at Monterey, California. The ruin consists of a partially excavated multi-storied masonry pueblo with at least 20 rooms and a kiva. Located on the grounds of the Anasazi Heritage Center, a one-half mile long, paved, uphill, wheelchair-accessible trail provides an excellent view of the pueblo. Signs along the trail illuminate history and the local environment.
Sand Canyon Pueblo is the site of an ancient Pueblo Indian village in southwestern Colorado. Occupation of the site is believed to have begun during the late A.D. The desolate site has been excavated and overgrown rubble mounds remain. Six interpretative signs along a walking trail provide information on the site and help visitors imagine the past.
Enjoy a self-guided interpretive tour of the Lowry Pueblo archaeological site. Lowry Pueblo is a part of Canyons of the Ancients National Park and was once home to approximately 100 people. Lowry Pueblo had a total of about 40 rooms and 8 kivas at its peak in the early 11th century, and was arranged in a roughly rectangular block, with some portions reaching as high as three stories. A great kiva, constructed outside the eastern limits of the village, is nearly 50 feet in diameter.
The Lebanon Schoolhouse was built in 1907 in the Greek Revival style. Today, it has been restored and brought to life again as a cozy B&B. While the historic character of the facility has been preserved, visitors will find every amenity at their fingertips.
Canyons of the Ancients is a fragile checkerboard of ancient sites scattered across 164,000 acres of high desert in the southwest corner of Colorado. This area was the epicenter of Ancestral Puebloan communities. This enormous monument is a difficult place to navigate and there are just a few areas ready for the public to explore. It is an area to discover on your own, if you are prepared for an adventure of a lifetime.
The 1908 sandstone building is the oldest existing bank building in Cortez. It was the town's first and only banking institution until 1957. Incorporating Classical Revival elements, the building is representative of turn-of-the-century commercial construction.
Constructed in 1893, with a 1902 addition, the Rio Grande Southern Hotel is the oldest building in Dolores and currently operates as a bed and breakfast.
The core administrative buildings at Mesa Verde--the superintendent's residence (1921), park headquarters building (1923), post office (1923), ranger club (1925), museum (1923-4), and community building (1927)--are the first National Park Service structures to experiment with architectural designs based in strong local cultural traditions. The buildings are excellent examples of the Pueblo Revival style, in this instance modified to reflect and enhance the interpretation of the prehistoric structures of the surrounding area.
Trail of the Ancients Historic Byway highlights the long and intriguing occupation of the Four Corners region by Native American peoples. The 114 mile route takes visitors across the terrain of the Anasazi and Navajo and includes Mesa Verde National Park and Howenweep National Monument.
This gasoline-powered narrow gauge railroad car, constructed in 1933, provided the Rio Grande Southern Railroad with a cost saving alternative to the more expensive steam locomotive passenger trains and allowed the company to continue operating in the San Juan Mountains until 1952.
Mesa Verde National Park is truly America's premier archaeological wonder. National Geographic Traveler named Mesa Verde as one of the fifty "must-see" places of a lifetime, and it's easy to see why. America's first World Heritage Site, the park tells the story of a civilization's dynamic growth over 700 years.
J. Walter Ertel purchased the Ames and Omo Funeral Homes in Mancos, Cortez, and Dolores in 1921. In 1933 he consolidated the three funeral homes in an old two-story frame building located on the site of the current building. Mr. Ertel began building the present building in 1935 and on January 26, 1936 the Ertels and the Cortez community celebrated the opening of the new facility.
The Anasazi Heritage Center, a museum devoted to the cultures of the Four Corners region, is your portal to another time explorable in exquisite detail. Through microscopes, focus on an ancient kernal of corn on a fragment of yucca sandal. Feel the finger indentations on corrugated pottery, or carefully match tree rings to date an old wooden beam. The Center is also known for its beautiful rotating exhibits that weave different cultural threads in one vivid tapestry. You can visit two archaeological sites on the Museum grounds.
Housed in a replica of the original Delores depot, the museum is dedicated to telling the interconnected story of the town and the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and features exhibits on the Galloping Goose rail cars. Built in 1928, the Galloping Goose was a hybrid between a car and a bus running on railroad tracks.