Culture History Preservation

Anasazi Heritage Center

The Anasazi Heritage Center is a museum of the Ancestral Pueblo (or Anasazi) culture and other native cultures in the Four Corners region. It is also the starting point for visits to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The museum displays the history and the methods that modern archaeologists use to reveal the past, and preserves artifacts and records from excavations in the Four Corners area, one of the richest archaeological regions in the United States.

Many of the exhibits are hands-on and interactive: you can weave on a loom, grind corn meal on a metate, examine the past through microscopes, handle real artifacts, feel the finger indentations on corrugated pottery, or carefully match tree rings to date an old wooden beam.

The current exhibit in the Special Exhibit Gallery is entitled, Ancestral Homelands: Connection to Land, Space, and Time. This is a juried exhibition showcasing contemporary art of the Institute of American Indian Arts Community running through November 15, 2015.

For more information, please call 970-882-5600, or visit the website at: The Golden Pass and/or America the Beautiful Pass holders are free.

Available services and facilities include: Museum, Gift Shop/Bookstore, Theater, wheelchair accessibility and availability, captioned audio visuals, public restrooms and bus parking.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument comprises 176,000 acres, and contains the highest known density of archaeological sites in the United States. Archaeological and historic sites, such as cliff dwellings, great kivas, and rock art sites enrich the landscape.

The canyons are accessible from various points along the Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway. Cortez, Dove Creek, Cahone, Pleasant View, and Yellow Jacket are all access points in Colorado. Bluff, Blanding, Montezuma Creek and Aneth are access points in Utah.

Most roads in the Monument are primitive, unpaved, four-wheel drive routes. Motorized travel is restricted to existing roads only. Mountain bikes are allowed only on trails designated for their use. There are no campgrounds, but primitive camping is allowed in most areas.

Archaeological sites in this “outdoor museum” are not apparent to the untrained eye, and precise locations are not publicized. Visitors who are planning to explore the Monument should stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center for maps and current conditions. Do not dig in the sites! It is illegal to remove artifacts. For more information, visit, or call 970-882-5600.

Lowry Pueblo

The only developed recreation site within the Monument. It has standing walls that have been stabilized, 40 rooms, eight kivas and a Great Kiva. The picnic area, restroom and trail are all wheelchair-accessible. There is no water or phone service.

Painted Hand Pueblo

This is a beautiful standing tower perched on a boulder. The site has never been excavated, but stone rubble shows where rooms were built against the cliff-face and on boulders.

Sand Canyon Trail

This is a wonderful system of three trails ranging from easy to challenging skill levels, wonderful for hiking and singletrack mountain biking. It leads to one of the largest prehistoric settlements in this region, that has 420 rooms, 100 kivas, and 14 towers, but no exposed walls. Sand Canyon Pueblo is adjacent to the upper (north) trailhead for Sand Canyon. There is a small parking area, but no water, restroom, phone or wheelchair-access.

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Is a 170 acre research center and living classroom, offers hands-on archaeology programs as well as small group tours of the Southwest led by archaeologists and American Indian scholars.

Be an archaeologist on a day tour! Visit a current excavation site, tour a working archaeology lab, and explore the fascinating history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians. A full day adventure in learning! Tour is offered every Wednesday and Thursday, May-September. Reservations can be made by calling 800-422-8975 ext. 146, or go to

Crow Canyon also offers free one hour campus tours every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10am Late May through mid October.

The Ute Mountain Tribal Park

Offers an in-depth experience not to be missed. Tribal members interpret tribal culture, pictographs, cliff dwellings, surface ruins and artifacts. The Ute Mountain Tribal Park is in the Mesa Verde/Mancos Canyon area just outside the boundaries of the National Park.

Visit or phone 970-565-9653 for tour information.

Remember to bring plenty of drinking water, food, insect repellant, sunscreen, a hat and sturdy hiking shoes. A full day tour involves about 80 miles of driving on dirt roads.


Ongoing Events

Cortez Cultural Center
25 North Market Street in Cortez

Native American Dances
Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday at 7pm

Native American Cultural Program
Wednesday at 8pm
Western Heritage Programs
Tuesday & Thursday at 7pm


Scroll to top