Lowry Pueblo in Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument
BLM
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
13th century Ancestral Pueblo masonry, Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 13th century Ancestral Pueblo masonry, Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 13th century Ancestral Pueblo masonry, Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 13th century Ancestral Pueblo masonry, Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 13th century Ancestral Pueblo masonry, Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument
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BLM>Colorado>National Monuments>Canyons of the Ancients>Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

TravelHidden Granary
Can I hike in the Monument?  Is the entire Monument open to hiking?
Can I drive a motorized vehicle in the Monument? 
Can I ride a bike in the Monument?

Are horses allowed in the Monument? 
How can I make sure that I don't trespass on private inholdings in the backcountry?
How will I know if I'm on a public road or private driveway? 
Can I ride an ATV? Are there ATV maps/ trails? 
Which routes are RV-accessible? RV size limits?
What is the most detailed map available? 
Where can I get GPS reference points for hiking/driving?
How far is it to the Monument from the Anasazi Heritage Center (AHC)? 
How far off the roadway can I pull a camp vehicle? 

Recreation
Can I camp in the Monument? Can I have a campfire? 
Are dogs allowed in the Monument? 
Can I hunt in the Monument? 
Can my organization go hiking in the Monument? Do we need a special permit? 
Is geocaching allowed? 
Is rock climbing allowed and in what areas? 

Cultural Resources
How can I learn more about Ancestral Puebloan culture? 
Can I collect artifacts? Can I collect arrowheads?
What should I do if I witness suspicious behavior in the backcountry? Who do I call to report vandalism? 
How many undiscovered ruins are on the Monument?
What is the proper way to explore a backcountry site? 
What is the outdoor museum concept?

Multiple Use Management
What kind of wildlife lives in the Monument?
Are there oil and gas leases in the Monument?
Is livestock grazing allowed in the Monument?
Can I cut a Christmas tree in the Monument?
Can I cut firewood in the Monument?
How can recreational users avoid drill sites or grazing herds?
How can I help?


Can I hike in the Monument? Is the entire Monument open to hiking? Cliff Dwelling
Hiking, both on routes and cross-country, is allowed anywhere in the Monument but is restricted to designated routes in the Sand Canyon/Rock Creek Recreation Management Area (Canyons of the Ancients National Monument map—transportation legend). 

Can I drive a motorized vehicle in the Monument? Can I ride a bike in the Monument? 
In all areas of the Monument, motorized and mechanized travel is restricted to designated routes (Canyons of the Ancients map—transportation legend). 

Are horses allowed in the Monument?
Horseback riding, both on routes and cross-country, is allowed anywhere in the Monument but is restricted to designated routes in the Sand Canyon/Rock Creek Recreation Management Area (Canyons of the Ancients map—transportation legend). 

How can I make sure that I don't trespass on private inholdings in the backcountry?
How will I know if I'm on a public road or private driveway?
It is your responsibility to make sure you do not trespass on private land. Gates, and/or signs will help in determining your location; however, you cannot rely solely on these markers. Obtaining a detailed map (USGS topographic, USDI BLM, etc.) in addition to a travel map specific to the Monument will assist you. Some older maps may not display the private land parcels that have been recently acquired by the Monument, so it is best to visit the Anasazi Heritage Center to get the most current landownership map. 

Are all legal roads marked as such?
The best way to stay on designated routes and use appropriate methods of transportation is to obtain a travel map for the Monument (Canyons of the Ancients map—transportation legend). Appropriate maps and other information are available at the Anasazi Heritage Center. 

If a road is gated, can I still access that road?
A locked, gated route means its use is restricted. A locked, gated route is not open to the general public for motorized access, but may be open to horseback riding and hiking, and in some cases, bicycling, depending on its travel designation. Obtaining a travel map will assist you in determining which routes are open to your method of travel (Canyons of the Ancients map—transportation legend). 

Do I need four-wheel drive to visit the Monument?
Which roads are paved, and what is the condition of the other roads?
Several county roads leading to the Monument are either paved (CR 10) or graveled. Most roads within the Monument have dirt surfaces. The need for a four-wheel drive vehicle varies according to the road surface and weather conditions. A sudden rainstorm can turn a dry road into slippery mud, making travel difficult and dangerous. In the winter roads can be covered with snow, ice or mud. During dry conditions, generally a two-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is sufficient for most travel. 

Can I ride an ATV? Are there ATV maps/ trails?
All Off-Highway Vehicles (of which ATVs are one type) are restricted to designated routes only. No cross-country travel is allowed by off-highway vehicles. Obtain a map of the transportation system for the Monument to see which routes are open to the various forms of motorized travel (Canyons of the Ancients National Monument—transportation legend). 

Which routes are RV-accessible? RV size limits?
RV parking (day use only) is available at the Anasazi Heritage Center and at Lowry Pueblo. Parking at other trailheads is limited and may require access across a high-clearance dirt road. 

What is the most detailed map available?
There are several maps available that cover the Monument. USGS topographic maps are the most detailed showing elevations, topographic contours, routes, sections, etc. The USDI BLM maps show topographic contours, routes and land ownership. The above maps, however, do not show designated routes within the Monument. To know the designated transportation system in the Monument you must obtain a travel map associated with the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Resource Management Plan (Canyons of the Ancients National Monument—transportation legend). 

Where can I get GPS reference points for hiking/driving?
The BLM does not have this information, but it may be available on private websites. 

How far is it to the Monument from the Anasazi Heritage Center (AHC)?
AHC to Lowry Pueblo = 28 miles
AHC to Painted Hand Pueblo = 38 miles
AHC to Sand Canyon Pueblo = 22 miles
AHC to Sand Canyon Trailhead = 34 miles 

How far off the roadway can I pull a camp vehicle?
Motorized and mechanized vehicles must park parallel to the designated route’s disturbed surface with a minimum distance necessary for safety. We encourage you to park in areas where disturbance has already occurred rather than create new disturbance. New disturbance is cumulative, will add to resource impacts and is expensive to reclaim. At a maximum, tire tracks should not be more than 20 feet from the edge of the route surface.

Can I camp in the Monument? Can I have a campfire?
Camping and campfires are prohibited in front-country recreation areas (i.e. Pueblo Sites, Sand Canyon/Rock Creek, and Anasazi Heritage Center Recreation Management Areas (Map 4). While camping and campfires are allowed in backcountry areas throughout the Monument, they are prohibited in archaeological sites and within 300 feet of water sources (ponds, springs, streams, etc.) and developed areas (trails, kiosks, parking areas, etc.). Campfires cause lasting impacts to delicate soils and leave a mess. Fire pans are mandatory for campfires, or use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. 

Are dogs allowed in the Monument?
Yes. Dogs should be controlled with a leash. Anticipate small children, other dogs, horses, mountain bikes, cactus and even venomous snakes. Keep dogs out of archaeological sites and springs and bring a plastic bag to scoop the poop. 

Can I hunt in the Monument?
Hunting is regulated by the Colorado Department of Wildlife (CDOW) and is allowed in the Monument according to state regulations. 

Can I carry or shoot firearms/atlatls/bows in the Monument?
Can I target shoot in the Monument?
Recreational shooting such as target shooting with bullets, bow/arrow, paintballs, and air guns (or other means) is prohibited in the Monument. Recreational shooting does not include hunting. 

What is the extent of cell phone coverage in the Monument?
Cell phone coverage is unreliable in the Monument, particularly in the canyons. 

Are there guided tours? Are there tour operators that offer tours of the Monument?
Contact the Anasazi Heritage Center for a list of permitted guides. 

Can my organization go hiking in the Monument? Do we need a special permit?
There are specific requirements based on group size, whether the organization is commercial or not for profit, and the proposed location of the hike. Contact the Dolores Public Lands Office at 970-882-7296 or the Anasazi Heritage Center well in advance of the event to determine whether a permit is required. 

Is geocaching allowed?
Geocaching is prohibited in the Monument. 

Is rock climbing allowed and in what areas?
Climbing (rock climbing, repelling, and/or bouldering) is allowed only in designated areas in the Mockingbird Mesa Recreation Management Area (Map 4).

How can I learn more about Ancestral Puebloan culture?
Visit the Anasazi Heritage Center. Explore the Heritage Center’s website at www.co.blm.gov/ahc.
To learn about modern American Indian perspectives and the importance of cultural resources, the Visit With Respect DVD, produced by the BLM in cooperation with American Indian tribes, is available at www.co.blm.gov/canm

Can I collect artifacts? Can I collect arrowheads? Tower Doorway
No, unless you are a researcher with special authorization to do so.
Collecting artifacts (i.e. non-renewable archaeological and cultural resources) without a permit from federal public lands or American Indian tribal lands is a federal crime, and is prohibited under several federal laws and regulations. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 was passed by Congress to ensure that present and future generations have an opportunity to view and learn from our country’s archaeological resources. Violating the ARPA can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years and a $20,000 fine for the first offense.

In addition to laws prohibiting the collection of archaeological resources under the ARPA, it is also illegal to collect arrowheads, even from the surface. Under Title 43 Code of Federal Regulations 8365.1-5(a)(1), the Antiquities Act of 1906 and Title18 of the United States Criminal Code, violators who remove arrowheads from public lands may face vigorous prosecution and prison sentences of up to one year or more and/or possible fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. 

What should I do if I witness suspicious behavior in the backcountry? Who do I call to report vandalism?
Call BLM law enforcement at 970-882-6849 or the Colorado State Patrol dispatch at 970-249-4392. Email: CO_CANM_lawenforcement@blm.gov.
If you can, record the license plate number and provide the number to law enforcement. For your safety, do not approach individuals on your own. 

How many undiscovered ruins are on the Monument?
We don’t know how many “undiscovered” sites are in the Monument—they are undiscovered. We estimate that there may be 20,000 - 30,000 sites total. There are 6,355 recorded sites in the Monument. 

What is the proper way to explore a backcountry site?

  • Walk carefully and avoid stepping on walls and trash middens. Archaeological sites are very old and fragile.
  • Never touch or write on artwork in archaeological sites. Oils from skin damage pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings).
  • Avoid picnicking in archaeological sites. Crumbs attract rodents which can cause damage by tunneling and nesting in the site. Make sure that you pick up and carry out all of your trash.
  • Leave artifacts right where you find them for others to enjoy. Out of context, artifacts offer no information about the history of a site. It is illegal to remove them.
  • Never dig in archeological sites. If you pick up a piece of pottery, put it back where you found it. Artifacts in their original context tell stories about the past.
  • Avoid camping in archaeological sites. It’s easy to destroy walls and artifacts in the dark. Smoke from campfires stains walls and cliffs, and charcoal leaves a mess.
  • Never use wood from archaeological sites in campfires. Fire pans are mandatory.
  • Human and animal waste left at archaeological sites is unsightly and unsanitary.
  • Stay on existing roads and trails. Even foot traffic can create scars that heal slowly and increase soil erosion of the desert landscape.
  • Do not stand or sit on walls, move rocks, or climb through doorways. All cause irreparable damage to archeological structures.
  • Please do not add trinkets or other objects to a site.
  • Many sites hold spiritual value for Native Americans. Please treat these areas with respect. 


What is the outdoor museum concept?
It is a concept where Monument visitors can experience cultural and natural resources through self-discovery. The Monument is managed primarily through a backcountry management strategy where minimal development occurs. The lack of facilities and interpretive materials in the Monument makes it important to start your visit at the Anasazi Heritage Center.

What kind of wildlife lives in the Monument?
A variety of wildlife live in the Monument including large animals (black bear, mountain lion, elk, deer, etc.), small animals (rabbits, squirrels, bats, foxes, etc. ), birds (various raptors, grouse, owls, flycatchers, etc.), reptiles (lizards, snakes-including rattle snakes), amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders) and fish (minnows, suckers, sunfish etc.) For a complete list of wildlife visit the Anasazi Heritage Center. 

Are there oil and gas leases in the Monument? Drilling for Energy
Nearly 80% of the Monument is leased for mineral production with most leases producing oil, gas or CO2. There are approximately 120 producing wells in the Monument (Map 2). 

Is livestock grazing allowed in the Monument?
Livestock grazing is one of many multiple uses permitted in the Monument. It is also a historical use which has occurred since the late 1800’s. Approximately 98% of the Monument is grazed by livestock. Livestock grazing is not permitted around the Sand Canyon and Rock Creek Recreation Management Areas (Map 3). 

Can I cut a Christmas tree in the Monument?
Christmas tree cutting for personal use is authorized by permit. Commercial Christmas tree cutting may occur by permit only. 

Can I cut firewood in the Monument?
No personal-use firewood cutting is allowed in the Monument. Commercial fuelwood cutting requires a permit. 

How can potential recreational users plan to avoid drill sites or grazing herds?
Recreational users should contact the Anasazi Heritage Center as part of their trip planning. Maps and current information regarding drill sites and grazing allotments can be obtained to avoid conflicts with these or other resource activities. 

How can I help?
Contact David Kill at (970) 882-5621 about helping at the Anasazi Heritage Center  the museum with visitor services, the museum shop, library, maintenance, and curation.

Contact Diane Mcbride at (970) 882-5628 to become a Cultural Site Steward, visiting archaeological sites to monitor their condition and discourage vandalism.

Contact the San Juan Mountains Association at (970-385-1310) for information about the Trail Information Specialist  and Wilderness Study Area volunteer programs.