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Planning Your Trip to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Planning Your Trip to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument



Everything You Need to Know For a Trip to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Spanning 176,056 acres of land maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in southwestern Colorado, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains more than six thousand archaeological sites that are open for exploration.

The national monument is a fantastic location for anyone seeking a unique travel experience, especially if you’re into the great outdoors and eager to check out some Colorado history firsthand. Before you plan your trip, here’s what you need to know about when to visit, what to do, and more.

When to visit Canyons of the Ancients

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is open year-round (with the exception of a few major holidays). Its location in Colorado’s southwestern slope makes travel even more accessible due to the mild climate of the region.

The site tends to be busiest during summer. If you want to go when the crowds aren’t quite so dense, try a spring or autumn visit. Additionally, the park is free to enter during the off-season, but in peak times (March to October) there’s a $3 entrance fee.

What to do

The real question is, how will you do everything in one trip? Canyons of the Ancients National Monument boasts a variety of family-friendly activity options (and you can even bring your pets if they’re leashed).

There are designated trails for horseback riding and mountain biking, and certain places where you can rock climb (just not on the monuments themselves). Hiking, backpacking, and even hunting are common outdoor adventure options here.

Where to stay

The national monument site doesn’t include an official campground, but there are several camping options on nearby BLM land. This option provides easy access to the site, but be prepared to camp without amenities.

If camping isn’t the experience you’re looking for, there are several accommodation options that partner with Canyons of the Ancients National Monument to offer tourists a place to stay while exploring the site.

What to know before you visit Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

There are a few other things to keep in mind when you’re planning your trip:

  • First, bring your own water. The site is located in a very sunny part of the state, and since the majority of your exploration will be outside, it’s essential to stay hydrated.
  • Some of the archaeological sites aren’t very obvious if you aren’t specifically looking for them, so stop by the Visitor Center and Museum. There, you can pick up some current maps and hear about the trail conditions.
  • Finally, many of the roads are rough and unmaintained, so motorized travel is restricted. If you plan to explore these potentially difficult roads, make sure your car can handle the terrain.