Pets allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
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.

Hovenweep National Monument is a very small and very fascinating park. With units in both southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado, what the monument lacks in size it makes up for in unique history. Hovenweep contains some of the best examples of Ancestral Puebloan masonry towers found anywhere. Most of the towers and dwellings were built between 1200 and 1300 AD, just before the area was mysteriously abandoned. The topography of the monument is generally flat with a few shallow canyons where the ruins are found. Most areas are covered in the common pinyon pine and juniper forest that is common in the region. While this area may not be as naturally beautiful as many areas in the region, the human history and ingenuity on display is truly remarkable. Because of Hovenweep's small size, hiking is generally limited to the short interpretive trails that take visitors to the ruins. Driving access varies from unit to unit. Some, like the Square Tower unit are easy to reach; others, like the Cajon group, require more effort and a better vehicle.

The park has a nice visitor center and a developed campground with restrooms and water. It is also one of the few national park service units left that doesn't charge an entrance fee. 

Because of its proximity to other large and popular national parks like Canyonlands and Mesa Verde, Hovenweep is often overlooked, but a stop in the monument is well worth the time. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Fascinating history. Many ruins. Few crowds.


Remote. Limited hiking. Limited camping.


ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Bird watching
Big Game Watching
Big Game Watching

Site type

Full hookups


Nearby Lodging + Camping


Hovenweep is special because the trails take you so close to the dwellings. I was there hiking the Square Tower unit during a cloudburst. The rain stopped, but water trickled through the rocks and down into the canyon, a demonstration of how the presence of water enabled the people to live there.
The only shade in the campground is provided by structures over the picnic tables in each campsite. If you visit after the monsoon begins temperatures will be cooler, but there's always the chance of rain and flooding.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.