Anasazi Heritage

(Dolores CO)
Anasazi Heritage Center National Monument was just north of Cortez and it serves as the gateway to the nearby Canyons of the Ancients. The canyon holds many ruins, with a few available to the public. These early pueblo natives are now called Ancestral Puebloan peoples.

Pottery, display

Anasazi Heritage Center – pottery display

The museum was exceptionally good with displays, artifacts, videos and a re-created pit house. It also serves as a research base for continuing archaeological work in the region. The docents provided good info about the Anasazi and the driving tour through the canyon to see more. Outside were panels explaining the landscape and desert plants.

Anasazi museum display

Fabrics, tools, etc

Ancient home

Hearth area of pit house

On the museum grounds were the Dominguez and Escalante ruins. They were small and only had low rock walls remaining, but gave an idea of the rooms used by the ancient ones. There was a paved trail to the top of a hill where the Escalante Pueblo ruin was found. It overlooked a reservoir, which would have been a river in their time.

Stone walls, kiva

Escalante Pueblo ruins

Lake, trees, yucca

McPhee Reservoir from ruin hill

I camped by the McPhee Reservoir, the second largest in Colorado. The water was not visible from the campground. However, there was an overlook a short drive away; or a trail to it from one of the loops. Picnic table, grill, paved pads, pit toilets and electric at extra cost. Internet made it OK despite the high fee and the canp not being a pretty location.

Camp: San Juan NF-McPhee CG drycamp
Scene: Museum, ruins, reservoir

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2 Responses to Anasazi Heritage

  1. Martha September 24, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    I have always wanted to explore some of the ruins in that area. The one year I made arrangements to go, the darn Federal Govt. shut down and my plans became ancient ruins! I doubt I’ll get that way again.

    • Pleinguy September 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      There are some very interesting native ruins in that area; too bad you missed it. That shutdown put an end to my attempt at seeing the fall colors in the Appalachians.

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