Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado contains a huge number of archaeological sites–more than 6,000 recorded so far, and up to 100 per square mile in some places–representing Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures. This 174,000-acres area is near Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park and was set aside to preserve and protect the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the U.S.

Most of the archaeological sites in this “outdoor museum” are not apparent to the untrained eye, and precise locations are not publicized. This is a place to explore on your own, mainly on foot. Just a few miles away is the Anasazi Heritage Center, Southwest Colorado’s premier archaeological museum of the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and other Native cultures of the Four Corners region. The museum is a great place to start when visiting the region.