Colorado National Monument

A special kind of nature retreat

According to iamaccepted, the Colorado National Monument is located in western Colorado on the high Colorado Plateau and is characterized by landscapes dominated by semi-desert, interspersed with impressive rock formations, canyons and solitary monoliths mostly made of red or reddish sandstone. Over millions of years, unique landscapes have been formed under the influence of wind, water, heat and frost. In order to protect the unique landscapes including flora and fauna, the area in western Colorado was declared a US National Monument in 1911. The area is under special protection as a special habitat for birds of prey. The size of the protected area is 83 km². About 400,000 people visit the Colorado National Monument annually.

Sandstone formations in semi-desert – Colorado National Monument

Rim Rock Drive

The Rim Rock Drive was built in the 1930s, which was the main reason for the tourist development of the region. A 37-kilometer highway leads through the protected area through beautiful landscapes. It starts near Fruita and goes all the way to Grand Junction. Along the so-called Rim Rock Drive there are numerous viewpoints with wonderful views over the landscape of the protected region. The impressive sandstone formations along the way now all bear more or less imaginative names such as Balanced Rock, Independence Monument, Window Rock, Sentinel Spire, Pipe Organ, Saddlehorn, Cleopatra’s Couch, Kissing Couple, Squaw Fingers, Coke Ovens and Devils Kitchen.

Flora and fauna

In the arid region of Colorado, very special ecosystems and a very specific flora and fauna have established themselves over time. The flora consists of isolated pinyon pines up to cacti. Tall, heavily water-dependent trees have a hard time in the protected area. Otherwise, a ground-level shrub vegetation, mostly consisting of sagebrush, is predominant in the protected area. The monotonous mugwort plains are only interrupted in spring and summer by countless flowering plants. Bighorn sheep and mule deer can be spotted in the greener regions of the sanctuary. The Colorado National Monument is an ideal habitat for drought-loving reptiles and also for poisonous rattlesnakes. Besides some species of songbirds live in the sanctuaryPeregrine falcons, turkey vultures and golden eagles. Small rodents such as chipmunks, kangaroo rats and ground squirrels live in the protected area. Bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes and cougars roam the country as larger predators.

Uniquely beautiful – rocks in the landscape of the Colorado National Monument

Once the habitat of Native Americans

Information about the protected area can be viewed and purchased in the existing visitor center. The region was probably already inhabited thousands of years ago. Fremont People of the Fremont culture probably also lived in this region of Colorado after the first millennium . Before the arrival of the whites, the people of the Ute Native Americans lived in what is now the protected area. Existing rock drawings testify to the presence of the Native Americans.

Hiking in the protected area – popular, but not entirely without risk

Hiking is a popular recreational activity in Colorado National Monument. Care should be taken to ensure good navigation and sufficient water supplies. Venomous rattlesnakes are a real threat in the sanctuary. Signposted hiking trails are available in the protected area. Cycling is also popular, provided you are in good physical condition.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Barren landscapes and ruins

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is located in southwestern Colorado. The area of ​​the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is 663 km². The closest town to the sanctuary is Cortez. Around 80,000 tourists visit the National Monument every year. The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000. It encloses three areas with ruined settlements that were once part of Hovenweep National Monument in Colorado. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is the United States’ largest archaeological site dedicated to Native American cultures.

Simple dwellings of Native Americans

Already inhabited 10,000 years ago

Just five years after the establishment of the National Monument, the number of prehistoric sites had grown to over 6,000. It has been proven that people lived in the area of ​​today’s Canyons of the Ancients National Monument as early as 10,000 years ago. So there were a lot of peoples of the “Native Americans” in the past epochs and millennia, mainly of the Pueblo culture and the pre-Pueblo culture. The number of finds is correspondingly high.

Canyons of the Ancients – undeveloped area

The entire national monument is very poorly developed in terms of infrastructure. Mostly only dusty and bumpy gravel roads lead through the protected area in Colorado. The archeological sites are not conspicuously marked, making them difficult for the untrained eye to spot.

Anasazi leave due to lack of food

Mesa Verde, as well as the area of ​​what is now Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, was abandoned about 700 years ago. The Anasazi peoples of Colorado continued to move toward New Mexico and Arizona. They probably had to move away due to lack of food. After the Anasazi, Ute and Navajo peoples came to Colorado and used the abandoned settlements as living quarters. As is well known, the arrival of the first white settlers changed the life of the Native Americans from the ground up.

Highway through the Ancients Conservation Area in Colorado

Hunters, gatherers, farmers and… potters

The people who used to live here were mostly hunters and gatherers, but they also did some farming. The peoples living there after the turn of the century were already very skilled and skilled in the manufacture of ceramics. They belonged to the same culture as the peoples who once inhabited the table mountain “Mesa Verde” in Colorado, today the only national park in the USA that protects the cultural heritage of “Native Americans”.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument