Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument straddles the border between Southwestern Colorado and Utah's Canyon Country in the Four Corners area of the United States of America.


Hovenweep means "deserted valley" in the Ute language, but it wasn't always that way. Between 1200 AD and 1300 AD this isolated area was a community of around 2,500 ancestors of the modern Pueblo people. The stone structures built during that time were abandoned around 1350 AD. Skillfully built, they still stand after centuries of neglect and exposure to the elements.


The native Ute and Navaho people have always known of these ruins. European settlers first encountered them in 1854. Hovenweep became part of the National Park System in 1923.


High desert of the Colorado Plateau.

Flora and fauna

Eastern Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris
Cryptobiotic soil in Hovenweep National Monument.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 42 48 57 66 77 88 93 90 82 68 53 42
Nightly lows (°F) 18 23 29 35 44 53 61 60 50 38 27 19
Precipitation (in) 1.0 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.7 0.3 0.9 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.1 0.8

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)


A 7 day entry pass to the park costs $6 per private vehicle. Motorcyclists pay $3 per person. An annual local passport for Arches, Canyonlands, Hovenweep and Natural Bridges is available for $30.

There are several passes that allow free entry for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes are valid at all national parks including Hovenweep National Monument:

In 2016 the National Park Service will offer several days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 16-24 (National Park Week), August 25-28 (National Park Service's 100th birthday weekend), September 24 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).


Hike the 2 mile Square Tower loop trail near the visitor center.

Visit outlying sites by car. A high clearance four wheel drive vehicle may be required and trails are primitive. Park rangers at the visitor center have maps and information about current road conditions.

Take advantage of being in the middle of nowhere. The dark skies at Hovenweep make it a great place for stargazing.


The visitor center has books and souvenirs. Gas and other supplies must be purchased in nearby communities.



Closest lodging is in Cortez.


31 site campground near visitors center open year round. Designed for tent camping, but a few sites will handle a small RV. Fee is $10 per night.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, November 24, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.