"Hovenweep Castle" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain


National Monument - CO, UT

Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain.


Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Visitor Map of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (NM) in Colorado. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Canyons of the Ancients - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (NM) in Colorado. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of the San Juan County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Travel Plan and Trail System. Published by San Juan County.San Juan County OHV - OHV Travel Plan and Trails

Map of the San Juan County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Travel Plan and Trail System. Published by San Juan County.

https://www.nps.gov/hove/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovenweep_National_Monument Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Explore a variety of structures, including multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. The construction and attention to detail will leave you marveling at the skill and motivation of the builders. Do not use GPS to find your way. There are numerous paved and dirt roads intersecting each other in this remote corner of Utah. The Hovenweep Visitor Center is located 40-45 miles from Cortez, Colorado, and Blanding and Bluff, Utah. Follow driving directions on our webpage. Hovenweep Visitor Center The visitor center should be your starting place for any visit to Hovenweep. Rangers are available to answer questions and provide guidance on the best way to visit the monument. Restrooms, bookstore sales, and exhibits are available. Do not use GPS to find your way. There are numerous paved and dirt roads intersecting each other in this remote corner of Utah. The Hovenweep Visitor Center is located 40-45 miles from Cortez, Colorado, and Blanding and Bluff, Utah. Follow driving directions on our webpage. Hovenweep Campground A 31-site campground near the visitor center is open year-round, first-come, first-served. The campground is designed for tent camping, though a few sites will accommodate RVs up to 36 feet long. Groups are limited to eight people and two vehicles. Sites include tent pads, fire rings and picnic tables with shade structures; there are no hookups available. One campsite is wheelchair-accessible but is not designed for tent camping. Standard Camping Fee 15.00 The nightly camping fee at Hovenweep is $15, all year. Group size limit is eight people and two vehicles. Senior/ Access Rate 7.00 Discounted camping rate for valid Senior or Access passes. The nightly camping fee with valid passes is $7 per site, all year. Group size limit is eight people and two vehicles. Campsite a gravel area with a picnic table under a shade structure Campsites have picnic tables with shade structures Campground RVs and trucks parked at campsites Hovenweep Campground has 31 sites Milky Way at Square Tower Group a stone structure at night with the Milky Way arcing overhead Hovenweep National Monument was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2014. Claretcup Cactus a bright red cactus flower Claretcup Cactus is a common plant at Hovenweep National Monument Stronghold House a stone structure resting on a cliff edge Stronghole House is one of several structures at the Square Tower Group Cajon Unit a stone structure with blue sky and clouds overhead The Cajon Unit is one of several outlying units at Hovenweep National Monument. Collared Lizard a green lizard with yellow head, yellow spots and black collar Collard lizards are one of many species that call Hovenweep home. Holly Group remains of a stone structure with wood beams on the edge of a canyon The Holly Group is one of Hovenweep's outlying sites, but worth the drive or hike. Desert Varnish Ever wondered what those dark lines were on the rock walls of canyon country? These black, brown, and red streaks are called desert varnish. streaks of black desert varnish on a red rock wall Ephemeral Pools Ephemeral pools are a vital source of water in a parched desert. grasses growing in a ephemeral pool filled with water Celebrating 50 Years of Partnership Canyonlands Natural History Association celebrated its 50th anniversary of partnering with public lands in southeast Utah. Since its founding in 1967, CNHA has donated over $12 million to Southeast Utah Group parks and its other federal partners—the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. Superintendent Kate Cannon hands a plaque to CNHA Executive Director Roxanne Bierman Monsoon Season Late summer is monsoon season on the Colorado Plateau. Afternoon thunderstorms are common - flash floods and lightning are possible. Learn more about this special time of year and how to plan for it. rainstorm over Canyonlands Arches National Park’s Free-Flowing Waters Visitors to Arches National Park experience natural free-flowing waters and have water to quench their thirst, thanks to an agreement between the National Park Service and the State of Utah. The sun sits just below the horizon behind Delicate Arch. National Park Getaway: Hovenweep National Monument Walk in ancient footsteps. Soak in the silence. Marvel at a night sky overflowing with stars. Hear a lone coyote’s howl. Experience the past at this month's getaway! Ruins of a pueblo on the side of a cliff NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado and Utah Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development] stone house ruins Surviving in the Desert In this arid land, plants and animals must adapt to constantly changing water availability. red blooms on cluster of claret cup cactus Veteran Story: William Bouley Bill Bouley served in the US Army for 20 years. Today he continues in public service as a Safety Manager for several parks and monuments in southern Utah. Bill Bouley, in uniform, with a helicopter in the background The Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau is centered on the four corners area of the Southwest, and includes much of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Hazy Fajada Butte, Chaco Culture National Monument Gnats In the late spring and early summer, swarms of tiny biting gnats often greet visitors to Utah national parks. These miniscule pests thrive in the scattered pinyon-juniper forests of southeast Utah. Module Conducts Wildland-Urban Interface Projects Throughout the Intermountain Region In 2013, the Saguaro Wildland Fire Module (WFM) managed multiple projects simultaneously in AZ, TX, and NM. WFMs are highly skilled and versatile fire crews that provide expertise in long-term planning, ignitions, holding, prescribed fire preparation and implementation support, hazardous fuels reduction, and fire effects monitoring. With their help, fire fulfills its natural or historic role to meet resource and management objectives and create fire-adapted communities. Wildland Fire in Sagebrush Sagebrush will burn when the surrounding grasses are dry. With strong winds, fire spreads rapidly with flames sometimes reaching over 30 feet high. While fire easily kills sagebrush, the other plants resprout from protected roots producing lush forage for wildlife and livestock. Close-up of sagebrush leaves Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Northern Colorado Plateau Park Waters Pesticides, antibiotics, and personal care products are all being found in streams and rivers. But would you expect to find them in a national park? On the northern Colorado Plateau, scientists found that even in isolated areas, these "contaminants of emerging concern" are not uncommon. Find out what we found where--and how you can help. Ripples in cave water Reading Rock Markings If you travel the canyons of the American Southwest, you are sure to see figures carved or painted on rock faces. These include abstractions like spirals, dots and geometric patterns, or more recognizable forms like animals, humans, and handprints. They served to communicate among American Indian tribes throughout the centuries, and they continue to communicate today. depictions of bighorn sheep and riders on horseback pecked into a rock wall Animal-Transmitted Diseases in Southeast Utah Some diseases can be passed from animals to humans. Never approach wildlife and learn other ways to protect yourself from animal-transmitted diseases in Southeast Utah parks. Small brown and tan rodent standing up on hind legs, with soil and green vegetation around it. Biological Soil Crust of Southeast Utah Be careful where you step because the dirt is alive! This bumpy, lumpy, crust black soil is called biological soil crust and is made up of living organisms. bumpy black soil crust with lichen Lichens of Southeast Utah Those bright colors you may see on sandstone and biological soil crust are alive! Lichens grow in every size, shape, and color in Southeast Utah. scaly gray lichen growing on dark soil crust House Rules for Visiting Archeological Sites in Southeast Utah Visiting a Southeast Utah park? These parks contain sacred areas and ancestral homeland of over 30 traditionally associated Native American Tribes. Learn how to be a respectful guest at cultural sites with these house rules. Two people stand and look at a circular tower constructed out of rocks. What We’re Learning and Why it Matters: Long-Term Monitoring on the Northern Colorado Plateau Knowing which key natural resources are found in the national parks, and whether they're stable or changing, helps decisionmakers make sound choices. The Northern Colorado Plateau Network is building that knowledge. After more than ten years of monitoring, we've learned a lot about park ecosystems, how they're changing, and what they may look like in the days to come. Find out what we’ve learned and how it’s being used to help managers plan for the future. Man stands in a stream, looking down at a handheld gauge. The Story of Desert View Watchtower The view from the Desert View Watchtower provides a unique perspective of the eastern side of Grand Canyon. From here, looking to the northeast offers a distant glimpse of the Colorado River's transition from the relatively narrow Marble Canyon to the north into the much wider, broader expanse of Grand Canyon. Directly below is the Colorado River's "Big Bend", where it dramatically shifts its previously southward course by executing a sharp 90-degree turn to the west. On the edge of a canyon cliff, a circular stone tower four stories, 70 feet tall. Water Quality in the Northern Colorado Plateau Network: Water Years 2016–2018 Once a month, ecologists collect water samples at dozens of monitoring sites in and near ten National Park Service units across Utah and Colorado. This consistent, long-term monitoring helps alert managers to existing and potential problems. Find out the results for 2016-2018 in this brief from the Northern Colorado Plateau Network. A monitoring crew of three samples a clear river flowing over brown rock and sand Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Round-up Donations Add Up to Big Support If you tell our bookstore partner to "keep the change," those pennies lead to big support for park programs. A clerk ringing up a customer at Arches' bookstore Climate Smart Conservation Planning for the National Parks In response to climate change, park managers are having to rethink how they plan for the future. Climate Smart Conservation is a process that can help managers achieve goals in the face of coming changes. Under this framework, scientists and managers use their collective knowledge to anticipate problems and be proactive, rather than reactive. Pika with a mouthful of grass Monitoring From Space: Using Satellite Imagery to Measure Landscape Conditions on the Ground Scientists from the Northern Colorado Plateau Network travel thousands of miles each year to collect data on plants, soils, and water across network parks. But it would be impossible to cover every square inch of the Northern Colorado Plateau with boots on the ground. Instead, we simultaneously monitor the parks with boots in space—satellite data that provide information at a much broader scale. Satellite and Earth in space Responding to Climate Change in the Southeast Utah Parks This paper describes how the Southeast Utah Group of parks is responding to climate change. The paper summarizes expected future climate conditions compared with a 20th Century baseline. It describes the foundation of our work within the Climate Smart Conservation framework adopted at our initial workshop in December 2018. A photograph of a grassland, containing some shrubs. Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021 Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon.
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Visitor Guide Ancestors of today’s Pueblo people built the standing architecture of Hovenweep approximately 800 years ago. Facts & History President Warren G. Harding established Hovenweep National Monument on March 2, 1923. The monument protects five prehistoric ancestral Puebloan canyon-head villages located along a 16-mile stretch of land intersecting the Utah-Colorado border west of Cortez, Colorado. The Square Tower Unit is the largest section of the monument and contains the most extensive archeological remains as well as the visitor center and a 31-site campground. It is important that you come to the visitor center first for an orientation to the monument and assistance in planning your visit. All of the state highways and county roads leading to the Square Tower Unit from Cortez, Colorado, and Blanding or Bluff, Utah, are paved. In addition to the Square Tower Unit there are the “outlying” units which include Holly, Horseshoe, Hackberry, Cutthroat Castle, and Cajon. The Holly, Horseshoe, and Hackberry units are located about four miles northeast of Square Tower. The Cutthroat Castle Unit is about eight miles northeast of Square Tower, and Cajon is about nine miles southwest. Significant portions (one to two miles) of the roads leading to these outlying units are unmaintained dirt and gravel; we recommend a high-clearance vehicle for visiting these sites. Square Tower Unit offers the widest variety of hiking opportunities. Here a self-guiding, twomile (3.2 km) loop trail will take you entirely around the monument’s largest archeological site and provide both panoramic and close-up views of its canyon and well preserved structures. Shorter hikes are also possible at Square Tower including an accessible 300-yard (274 m) sidewalk to a viewpoint overlooking a large portion of the canyon. There are also short hikes at each outlying site ranging from 0.25 to 1.6 miles (400 m to 2.5 km) roundtrip. The longest hike is an eight-mile roundtrip (12 km) hike that connects the Square Tower Unit with the Holly Unit, providing a longer scenic backcountry hike. The distinctive masonry found at Hovenweep shows considerable skill in construction techniques. Hovenweep National Monument and its outlying sites sit on a portion of the Great Sage Plain known as Cajon Mesa. This region is defined by deep, wide canyons fed by shallower tributary drainages. Cajon Mesa tilts slightly to the south causing the ephemeral runoff from its canyons to eventually flow into the San Juan River. Aside from rolling expanses of sagebrush, Cajon Mesa’s plant communities include pinyon-juniper woodlands in the higher elevations to the north and desert shrublands to the south. Human presence on Cajon Mesa can be traced back as far back as 6,000 – 8,000 BCE (Before Common Era). Nomadic hunter-gatherers would pass through on their seasonal rounds, camping near the springs located at the heads of some canyons. Eventually people leading more sedentary, agricultural lifestyles began settling the region around 200 CE (Common Era). Cajon Mesa remained relatively uninhabited until approximately 900 CE. Then as the region’s population grew and more land was needed for agriculture, small home sites developed across the more open southern expanses of the mesa. For reasons not completely understood, in the late 1100s and early 1200s, these more widely dispersed habitations began consolidating into communities around the water sources located at or near canyon heads. This “aggregation” appears to intensify with the onset of an increasingly arid period that culminated with a prolonged severe drought beginning in the 1270s. The structural remains at Hovenweep represent some of the best preserved examples of these ancestral Puebloan canyon-head communities in existence. Tree ring dating indicates most of these structures were built in the mid-1200s beginning in the 1230s and ending in the late 1270s. By 1300 the Puebloan people throughout the Four Corners region had departed, emigrating primarily to central Arizona and the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico. Their abandoned communities at Hovenweep stood relatively undisturbed for centuries until discovered by a Mormon expedition in the mid 1850s. The Hopi, Zuni, and Rio Grande Pueblo tribes are now considered the modern-day descendants of the people who created these memorable structures centuries ago. The land surrounding Hovenweep is held by the Navajo Nation, Bureau of Land Management, State of Utah, and private landowners. Respect the regulations and property rights of these agencies and individuals when travelling in the area. BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) replace BC and AD. Protect the Past for the Future We need your help to preserve Hovenweep National Monument. Here are several things you can do that will protect Hovenweep for future generations: • Stay on designated trails at all times
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Little Ruin Trail Guide Trail Distances Twin Towers Rim Rock House • • • Rim Trail Loop Tower Point Loop Stronghold House to visitor center 1.5 miles (2.4 km) 1 hour 0.5 mile (800 m) 20 min. 300 yards (274 m) Stronghold House Eroded Boulder House Hovenweep House To Campground Tower Point To Visitor Center Unit Type House Help us protect archeological sites: stay on the trail at all times. There are rattlesnakes in the area: watch where you put your hands and feet. Hovenweep Castle Facts & History The stunning Square Tower and an intriguing collection of buildings are clustered along Little Ruin Canyon. But the Square Tower community was not alone. Seven hundred years ago, a lively system of settlements flourished in the immediate area, all within a day’s walk of each other. This rocky, rugged, open country was once home to many people. For thousands of years, people hunted animals and gathered plants, moving on an annual cycle from the high mesas to the low canyon lands. As corn, or maize, gradually made its way north from Mexico, they became farmers and settled in villages. Along with corn, they grew beans, squash, and a grain called amaranth. There is also evidence they grew cotton. At Hovenweep, population density varied over time. In the 1200s, increasing numbers of people concentrated at the heads of small canyons, where they built pit houses, pueblos, ceremonial rooms— or kivas—and the towers that are Hovenweep’s trademark. Most of the buildings still standing were constructed from a.d. 1230 to 1275, about the same time as the famous cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. The Square Tower Group What's in a name? The name Anasazi has long been used for the prehistoric farmers of the Four Corners. The favored term is now ancestral Puebloan, indicating they were the ancestors of modern-day Puebloans. Many Pueblo people maintain physical and spiritual connections to these places. Please appreciate and respect them. Stronghold House Stronghold House was named for its fortresslike appearance, though it is not clear whether its architects designed it or any other structures for defense. The builders may simply have been following an aesthetic sense or responding to the challenges of the terrain. What you see is actually the upper story of a large pueblo, which now lies in rubble, built on the slope below. People entered the house by way of hand-and-toe holds chipped into the rock, or possibly by a wooden ladder. Stronghold House has two distinct sections, and the stone blocks are exceptionally well shaped. To your right is Stronghold Tower, built over a crevice in the cliff. At one time, a log bridged the crevice and supported part of the tower. The log rotted away, and most of the tower tumbled to the canyon bottom. Eroded Boulder House is another delightful structure visible in the canyon. It incorporates the huge rock under which it sits as part of its roof and walls. On top of the boulder are a few shaped stones where a tower once perched. From an opening in the north wall of the house, Tower Point is visible. Square Tower The Square Tower group sits in the heart of a 500-square-mile raised block of land called Cajon Mesa and is part of the Great Sage Plain. Several streams drain the mesa and flow into the San Juan River to the south. Pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson, who came here in 1874, called this place Hovenweep. It is a Ute/Paiute word that means "deserted valley." The fine state of preservation of the structures and their unusual architecture led to Hovenweep’s designation as a national monument in 1923. Unit Type House Unit Type House is the name archeologists gave to a basic building plan they noticed early on at sites in the Southwest. This one is a perfect example — a few living and storage rooms and one kiva — possibly home to a family or a clan. Most larger pueblos expanded by simply repeating this idea. The single kiva here is of the Mesa Verde style. Two of the openings in the wall of the room east of the kiva were possibly used to mark summer and winter solstices, information that is extremely useful to farmers. Tower Point The most striking feature of Tower Point itself is the commanding view up and down Little Ruin Canyon. In the alcoves just below the rim, you will see rooms where people stored crops such as corn, beans, and squash. A surplus harvest was essential to the ancestral Puebloans because they had to get through the inevitable bad years when crops failed. These granaries had to be tight and secure against rodents and seeping water. Imagine the life and times of the residents of Square Tower community. It was a neighborhood of farmers who, with resourcefulness and intimate knowledge of climate, soil, sunlight, and moisture succeeded in raising enough food to sustain a sizable population, perhaps 100 to 150 people. Life was good for a time. The seep at the canyon
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Geology This pothole, worn into the Dakota Sandstone on the canyon rim, was formed by a combination of water and wind erosion. Potholes collect and hold water thus providing a unique microenvironment for communities of algae, mosses, fairy shrimp, and insects. History Burro Canyon Conglomerate along the Little Ruin Canyon Trail. Hovenweep National Monument is located on Cajon Mesa in the northwest quadrant of the San Juan River Basin. Mesa means ‘table’ in Spanish and generally implies a highland that is fairly flat on top. Cajon Mesa is tilted to the southwest starting at 6,800 feet near Cutthroat Castle and ending up at 4,950 feet southwest of Cajon ruin. Despite the many deep and revealing canyons on Cajon Mesa, only two geologic formations are easily visible at Hovenweep. The earlier of these to be deposited was the Burro Canyon Formation laid down between 100 and 136 million years ago in the early Cretaceous period by a river and floodplain complex containing occasional small brackish ponds. It is composed of white conglomerate, green shale, mudrock, and sandstone layers with interspersed pebbles and cobbles of chert, silicified limestone, and quartzite. The Burro Canyon Conglomerate is easily seen at Cutthroat Castle and along the canyon crossing section of the Little Ruin Canyon trail. This conglomerate was an important source of material for tool production during ancestral Puebloan times. Also look for the green shale that can be seen along the upper portion of the Holly Trail. After the Burro Canyon Formation was deposited there was a fairly long period of erosion lasting almost until the end of MidCretaceous times. In geology this is known as an “unconformity” because one or more layers of rock are missing from the geologic record - usually due to erosion. Deposited during late Cretaceous times (30-70 million years ago) and representing a transition from river to swamp to marginal marine conditions, porous Dakota Sandstone is the caprock on Cajon Mesa and the other layer visible from within the monument. It comprises the open slickrock on the canyon rims and was utilized as a building material and for manos and metates, implements used to grind corn in ancestral Puebloan times. In addition to this yellow/gray sandstone, the Dakota Formation is composed of mudstones and a few thin beds of coal. Look for coal deposits along the trail to Twin Towers and in the canyon crossing. Together, these two geologic strata are responsible for the canyonhead seeps that were so important to Hovenweep settlement patterns. Seeps occur where the porous Dakota sandstone meets the relatively impermeable Burro Canyon shale. Water percolates slowly down through the Dakota Sandstone and is channeled horizontally along the top of the Burro Canyon Shale to the nearest available surface opening. When the seep appears in a canyon wall, as is the case with all of Hovenweep’s seeps, they often form small caves or alcoves. While only two geologic strata are easily visible within the monument, the landscape features that make up the horizon have an interesting geologic story. During the Miocene epoch, 1025 million years ago, masses of molten trachyte (fine-grained, light colored, igneous rock) intruded all the way up into the Mancos Shale (a layer of rock which lies atop the Dakota sandstone and has since been eroded away in this area). This molten magma never reached the surface and hence cooled slowly forming a mounded bed of crystalline igneous rocks. In the Pliocene epoch the overlying Cretaceous and Tertiary beds of rock were eroded away exposing what are now known as Sleeping Ute Mountain to the east and the Abajo Mountains to the west. In geologic terms these formations are known as “laccoliths.” Protect the past for the future Your help is needed to preserve Hovenweep National Monument. There are several things you can do to preserve and protect Hovenweep for future generations: • Stay on designated trails and away from fallen walls and mounds of stone. Walking on or near walls and structures weakens them, accelerating their deterioration. • Areas behind chain barriers are closed to protect fragile sites. Do not cross these barriers. Sediments deposited on Cajon Mesa continued to erode through the late Pleistocene up to arly Recent times (6-10 thousand years ago). It was around this time that early people, the Archaic, wandered this area in search of game. They utilized caves and overhangs for shelter, and shaped metamorphic and igneous rocks to make points and hammers. By A.D. 700 the bow and arrow was being utilized to more effectively hunt smaller game as the people in this region settled into a more agricultural lifestyle. The majority of the reddish-brown loess soils that are predominant in this area are from the fine grained soils of Monument Valley and the lower reaches of the San Juan River. They were deposited here
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Plants A view of the Great Sage Plain, which covers much of the landscape around Hovenweep National Monument. The Desert Landscape Hovenweep is located on Cajon Mesa in the heart of the Great Sage Plain which stretches from Cortez, CO to Blanding, UT. As the name of the area suggests, abundant sagebrush is one of the vegetative features of this arid high desert zone. The highest and wettest point on Cajon Mesa is northeast of Cutthroat Castle at 6,800 feet with an average annual precipitation of 15 inches. From there the mesa’s elevation drops 1,900 feet, sloping gently to the southwest and reaching its lowest and driest point near Cajon Ruin where average annual precipitation is about 6 inches. Four distinct vegetative groups can be identified at Hovenweep: pinyon-juniper forests blanket Cutthroat Castle; sagebrush dotted with juniper is found around Holly, Horseshoe and Hackberry; sagebrush is dominant at Square Tower; and Cajon is surrounded by scrubland. For many, the word ‘desert’ conjures up images of a barren, lifeless expanse of sand, but this desert actually supports a surprising diversity of flora (and fauna) that can be seen by the careful observer. Shrubs and trees are the most visible plant life at Hovenweep, but spring and summer rains can bring impressive wildflower blooms and low-lying cacti may surprise the careless hiker! In this arid environment, plants have developed a variety of strategies to survive the scarce moisture and harsh temperature extremes that characterize this desert climate. At Hovenweep you will find three different strategies being employed by plants in order to survive the harsh desert conditions. Drought escapers make use of favorable growing conditions when they exist but go dormant when those conditions disappear. They are usually annuals, growing only when enough water is available. Seeds produced under good conditions can lie dormant for years if conditions are not favorable for germination. It may take a bit of luck and/or the right season of the year to spot these ephemeral wildflowers, though bright red desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa) can often be spotted at Hovenweep in spring. This plant has a special strategy for obtaining the food and water that it needs; it sends out roots to encroach on nearby plants, helping itself to its neighbors’ moisture and nutrients. Drought resistors adapt their leaves to reduce water loss. They may have spiny, waxy or hairy leaves that reduce the impact of solar radiation or they may ooze light-colored salt onto the surfaces of their leaves to reflect the light. Look for claretcup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) whose waxy coating is thickest on the plant’s sunny side helping minimize water loss. The spines provide small amounts of shade on the cactus’ surface reducing its temperature and keeping moisture loss to a minimum. Instead of leaves, this plant uses its stems to photosynthesize. It only opens its pores during the cooler hours of the night to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide to conserve moisture. Mormon tea (Ephedra viridis) is another plant found at Hovenweep that photosynthesizes through its stems instead of its leaves. Because leaf structures are often associated with water loss, some plants simply drop their leaves if water is unavailable as in the case of blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) found at Cajon. The abundant Utah juniper tree (Juniperus utahensis) will stop water flow to certain parts of itself when moisture is scarce, thus allowing some outer branches to die, and giving the tree itself a better chance for survival. Another strategy utilized by drought resistors is the establishment of elaborate root systems. When mature, the root system of the pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) is at least as large as the above-ground portion of the tree with tap roots stretching 40 or more feet down and lateral roots stretching just as far horizontally. Can you find the nuts of the pinyon pine resting inside its cones or on the ground below its branches? These nuts have the same amount of protein per pound as steak and were a very important part of the ancestral Puebloan diet. Drought evaders are a distinct group of plants only able to survive in wetter “micro-climates” such as riparian areas. At Hovenweep some common drought evaders include Fremont’s cottonwood (Populus fremontii), coyote willow (Salix exigua), and singleleaf ash (Fraxinus anomala). Singleleaf ash takes advantage of rock cracks where runoff from the surrounding area provides the plant with increased moisture. Cottonwood and coyote willow all thrive in riparian areas and can be seen up close at Cutthroat Castle. Made up of a complex network of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses, this living soil enables plant growth by retaining moisture, preventing erosion, and adding essential nutrients such as nitrogen and carbon to desert soils. Look for this
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Wildlife The common raven thrives in a variety of environments: from treeless tundras to the high desert around Hovenweep National Monumentt. History Hovenweep National Monument is located on Cajon Mesa in the heart of the Great Sage Plain which stretches from Cortez, CO to Blanding, UT. Big game such as mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths may have originally brought humans to this region as early as 15,000 B.C. However, the first evidence of people on Cajon Mesa dates from around 8,000 B.C. What ensued was a gradual transition from hunting and gathering to a more sedentary agricultural lifestyle. Clearing woodlands for agriculture may have reduced elk and turkey populations and hunting may have impacted other large game animals such as the bighorn sheep. Conversely, agricultural land may have enhanced habitat for smaller animals such as rabbits. By A.D. 600 the use of the bow and arrow began, a technological advance that aided in the hunting of smaller game. Today there is abundant wildlife at Hovenweep with more than 10 species of bats, 13 species of rodents, 11 species of lizards, 10 species of snakes, and 90 species of birds recorded within the park’s 785 acres. Rodents and bats comprise the majority of the mammals found here because they are so well adapted to the harsh desert climate. Many of the rodents are active burrowers spending the hotter, drier hours of the day underground. Bats utilize canyon walls, cracks, and overhangs as daytime roosts. The heat radiated at night by these same walls provides an ideal temperature for the bats to fly and forage in. Cold blooded reptiles like snakes and lizards also thrive here, letting the abundant sunlight keep their bodies warm. Birds flourish by taking advantage of wetter microhabitats such as stream beds and springs. Wildlife Coyote Though you may have difficulty spotting one, listen for the howls, barks, whines, and yips of the coyote. While their calls may send a shiver up your spine, these creatures are not to be feared and are likely more afraid of you! Their soulpiercing howls communicate location within a group or family. Other vocalizations may defend territory, call for pups, and protect dens. Coyotes are some of the most adaptable creatures in the world. While they were originally found in the northwest U.S., coyotes now occur everywhere in the continental U.S., successfully taking over the former range of their cousin and major predator, the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Desert Cottontail Watch for cottontails hiding in the brushy desert scrub. Cottontails are named for the white patch of fur on their tail that resembles a cotton ball. They raise this white tail when danger is near, serving as an alarm signal to other cottontails. These rabbits can run up to 20 mph in a zig-zag pattern to escape predators! Cottontails belong to the order of mammals called rodents - a group of animals whose teeth never stop growing! Rabbits use their sharp ever-growing teeth to nibble twigs and grasses- their favorite foods. These furry critters keep themselves cool in the hot desert sun by radiating body heat through their large ears. Coyote (Canis latrans). Tarantula Hawk This large wasp with a metallic blue-black body and orange wings can grow up to 3 inches long. Tarantula hawks (Pepsis sp.) are so named because, other than humans, they are the tarantula’s main predator. When a female is ready to lay her eggs she finds a tarantula, attacks, stings, and paralyzes it so that she can drag it back to its burrow. There she lays a single egg on the tarantula’s abdomen, exits the burrow, and seals the chamber. When the egg hatches the tiny grub feeds on the tarantula until fully grown by which time the spider is dead. Watch out for these powerful insects! They are much more venomous than the tarantula they hunt and have one of the most painful stings of any insect around. Raven The largest bird of the crow (Corvid) family, ravens stand up to a foot tall! Ravens are considered among the most intelligent of all birds. They can learn to imitate a variety of sounds including the human voice and their curious, Protect the past for the future Your help is needed to preserve Hovenweep National Monument. There are several things you can do to preserve and protect Hovenweep for future generations: • Stay on designated trails and away from fallen walls and mounds of stone. Walking on or near walls and structures weakens them, accelerating their deterioration. • Areas behind chain barriers are closed to protect fragile sites. Do not cross these barriers. observant nature will be apparent to anyone who takes the time to notice. Ravens have a diverse appetite which can include carrion, mice, lizards, small birds, snakes, insects, and berries. Perhaps it is their broad diet that allows them to thrive in a number of different habitats ranging from treeless tundras to mountain forests to
Hovenweep National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Hovenweep National Monument Junior Ranger Activity Book Instructions Becoming a Junior Ranger is a fun way to learn about Hovenweep National Monument. To become a Junior Ranger complete the number of activities for your age group. Your parents are welcome to help and learn too. When you are finished, return the booklet to a ranger at the visitor center and receive your badge. All Junior ranger participants must hike at least one trail at Hovenweep. Ages 6 and under: Complete three activities marked with the painted pot symbol. Ages 7 to 9: Complete four activities, three must be marked with the ruin symbol. Ages 10 to 12: Complete five activities, three must be marked with the arrowhead symbol. Welcome A thousand years ago, the ancestral Puebloan people, formerly called the “Anasazi,” lived at what is now Hovenweep National Monument. “Anasazi” is a Navajo word meaning “ancient enemy.” “Hovenweep” is a Paiute/Ute word meaning “deserted valley.” Most archeologists believe that when they left this area, the ancestral Puebloans moved south where their descendants became the Hopi, Zuni and Rio Grande Puebloan peoples of today. List the Hovenweep trail you chose to hike: _____________________________________________________________ Parent’s Initials: _______ Design your own Jar The water jars shown below are called "ollas" (pronounced 'oy-yas'). The designs on pottery were often passed down from one generation to the next. How would you decorate an olla for your family? Draw your design on the empty jar. Maze The ancestral Puebloans stored their food in stone rooms called granaries. They were sealed tight to keep rodents out, but sometimes there were holes. Can you help the chipmunk find the hole in this granary wall? Connect the Dots Petroglyphs and pictographs were left on canyon walls by the ancestral Puebloans. No one knows for certain what they mean. Connect the dots to see a petroglyph. 28. 30. 34. 29. 27. 31. 33. 36. 35. 37. 32. 26. 25. 22. 23. 38. 1. 2. 39. 13. 3. 7. 8. 12. 4. 6. 5. 9. 11. 10. 24. 17. 21. 20. 19. 18. 16. 14. 15. Bingo! Circle the pictures of things you see during your visit to Hovenweep. Can you circle a whole row? Bird Canyon Chipmunk Spider Web Ranger Juniper Tree Deer Track Sagebrush Coyote Track Lizard Pinyon Pine Tree Ruin Cryptobiotic Yucca Rabbit Track Petroglyph Soil Crust What’s wrong with this picture? While visiting Hovenweep National Monument, there are activi illegal. In the drawing below, circle the activities that visitors ar ities the park encourages you to do and there are activities that are re not allowed to do at hovenweep. Word Search The ancestral Puebloans ate a variety of foods. They farmed their own vegetables and gathered native plants. They hunted game and raised animals. Find the names of some of the things they ate in the word search. D R OH V P S P V S E T B R Z AM B R I B G O U F WV N A L E NM J E R K BW J K U P Y L S O K G S I LMV C O R N K E J H L B E S X N B V P Y X T D E E R Z N L GW S B OOA R S QUA S H K H K NN J RMT J N C Z LM I S J C K S Y O R D H K OU B I GHO R N S PWNOQO P G L E O A J U N I P E R B E R R I B O C A C T U S F R U I Hunted/Gathered Pinyon Nuts Rabbits Sunflower Seeds Wild Onion Rice Grass Deer Juniper Berries Amaranth Cactus Fruits Bighorn Sheep B DMK R D S V I AMR CM L A E A P B G R L B R A U I AN E T S T Y S S H G J H E E P C PWZ E S O E T S D V C S QU L N O F Q L J O QW A E Z R L S N E I E A D Q S Farmed/Raised Corn Gourds Beans Squash Turkeys Crack the Code No one truly knows why the ancestral Puebloans drew and carved on the rocks. People say rock art could be artwork, religious symbols, boundary markers or calendars. Crack the code to get a message about rock art. ACEKOPRSTV Rock art can be damaged very easily. When it is touched, oils from your fingers can create a harmful coating that attracts dirt and moisture. In the past, people have destroyed rock by tracing it with chalk, carving over it and even cutting pieces away. Rock art is a clue to what life was like long ago. If it is destroyed, we have no chance of learning its message. True or False? Can you find the answers to these questions? Look on the signs at the visitor center and in the park brochures. Circle True or False: True False 1. The residents at Hovenweep were efficient dry farmers. True False 2. The ancestral Puebloans used check dams to bring moisture to their crops. True False 3. The ancestral Puebloans lived at Hovenweep for over 500 years. True False 4. It is alright to climb on or stand in the ruins. True False 5. Hovenweep residents occupied their towers for a long time. True False 6. The ancestral Puebloans left Hovenweep because there was too much water in the area. True False 7. Hovenweep National Monument is made up of three separate units. True False 8. Hovenweep National Monument was establish

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