Visitors planning to explore the Monument should first stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center (10 miles north of Cortez and 3 miles west of Dolores) for orientation and current conditions.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado contains a huge number of archaeological sites—more than 6000 recorded so far, and up to 100 per square mile in some places—representing Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures.
Canyons of the Ancients is managed as an integral cultural landscape containing a wealth of historic and environmental resources.
Auto routes through the Monument are few; most roads are unpaved and rough. Most of the archaeological sites in this "outdoor museum" are not apparent to the untrained eye, and precise locations are not publicized. This is a place to explore on your own.
Most of the Monument is open to exploration on foot, but marked foot trails are few and limited to specific areas. For maps, guidebooks, current information about trail and road conditions, and general orientation, stop first at the Anasazi Heritage Center (Monument headquarters) before starting your expedition.
The Anasazi Heritage Center is Southwest Colorado's premier archaeological museum of the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and other Native cultures of the Four Corners region. The museum features
permanent exhibits on archaeology, local history, & Native American cultures
two 12th-century archaeological sites
special exhibits & events
educational resources for teachers
a research library of archaeology & anthropology resources
a research collection of over 3 million artifacts and records from archaeological projects in Southwest Colorado
a picnic area, half-mile nature trail, and gift shop