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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
Yes
Guided tours
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

In one of those strange twists of history, one man’s (possibly misguided) obsession with the Spanish explorer Coronado led to an astounding and unparalleled discovery. It was suspected that the village of Kuaua was the location where Coronado’s expedition spent 1540 to 1542 resting and rebuilding to continue their search for the fabled seven cities of gold. Funding for excavation was provided, and during the work one of the kivas in the village was found to contain the most well-preserved interior paintings in the American Southwest.

The walls with these paintings were transported intact to the University of New Mexico for study, but they have eventually been returned to this park for viewing by the public. The paintings have excellent interpretive displays and are quite evocative, but no photography of these frail items is allowed. As a bonus, the artwork has been reproduced on the original kiva walls, and this site is open for viewing with a ranger tour. As this kiva is still used by the descendents of Kuaua Pueblo, no photography is allowed in the kiva, but the just experience of being in that ceremonial space is quite moving.

In addition to the painted kiva and the original paintings on display, the visitor center has informative exhibits about the people who inhabited Kuaua Pueblo, the Spanish explorers who entered their lives in the 15th century, and a few unexcavated ruins on the grounds.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Pros

Unique kiva paintings on display. Reconstructed painted kiva.

Cons

No photographs of paintings or kiva.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Features

ADA accessible
Family friendly
Guided tours
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Historically significant
Native artifacts

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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