Colorado National Parks

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Mesa Verde


Painted Hand Pueblo in Canyons of the Ancients
Painted Hand Pueblo in Canyons of the AncientsArt Paolini

Just 12 miles from Mesa Verde National Park, this national monument often falls off travelers’ radar screens, making it a fantastic place to discover solitude and ancient history. It contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States with 6,355-plus recorded sites. 

Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colo.

The Anasazi Heritage Center serves as the visitor center for the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and it digs deep into the 2,000-year history of the area, which culminated in the settlement of Mesa Verde. 

Before you leave the visitor center, pick up a much-needed road map and inquire about the conditions of the park’s dirt roads. Stock up on drinking water before you head out of Dolores.

Lowry Pueblo at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Gloria Wadzinski

Lowry Pueblo at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Great Kiva at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Gloria Wadzinski

Great Kiva at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Lowry Pueblo at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Gloria Wadzinski

Lowry Pueblo at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colo.
Gloria Wadzinski

Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colo.

Exhibit at the Anasazi Heritage Center.
Gloria Wadzinski

Exhibit at the Anasazi Heritage Center.