Check out the “Deserted Valley!”
Hovenweep means “deserted valley” in Paiute/Ute and Hovenweep National Monument in southeast Utah and southwest Colorado is a fascinating addition to your Four Corners itinerary. This desolate cluster of ancient villages spanning 23 miles includes stone structures and kivas built along the rim of canyons around 1200 AD.
You will get a feel for the old west while exploring this high desert area. The ancient towers and structures make you wonder what life was like in this village and you will gain new respect for the former inhabitants who built a thriving community with structures that have lasted 800 years.
A great place to start is the visitor center which is located 42 miles from Cortez, CO just over the state line into Utah (47 miles from Mountain View Lodge). There are bathrooms and some shaded seating. A short hike along the rim of the canyon gives opportunity to get close to these amazing structures, namely the Square Tower. There are other outlying sections such as Cajon, Holly, Horseshoe, Hackberry, and Cutthroat Castle. Some of these can be reached by hiking approximately a 12 mile round trip hike from the Square Tower section near the visitor center. Or if you have a high clearance vehicle you can drive to them in good weather. The Cajon section overlooks Monument Valley and is beautiful at sunset.
The best time to visit is spring or fall when temperatures are not as high. During the summer the temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. Be sure to have a full tank of gas and plenty of water, food, and sunscreen before leaving. There are no stores or service stations on the way to or at the monument. Hovenweep is also part of the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Click here for more details about Canyon of the Ancients.
We hope that you will enjoy the solitude and wonder of Hovenweep National Monument.