Canyons of the Ancients NM


Aug 6, 2015
It’s been far too long since I’ve been to the Four Corners area. I was perusing a road map and noticed Canyons of the Ancients.
Can anyone shed some light on this area? It would fit nicely with a visit to Bisti, Shiprock and Mesa Verde NP.
Thanks for your help.

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Jun 11, 2017
I spent quite a bit of time camping and wandering around down there one year, and I found some amazing stuff, including old irrigation workings. I mean really old, like 1000 years. I also recall one place where potshards were so thick you couldn't walk without stepping on them. But this was back before it was designated, and you could pretty much go and camp anywhere you wanted and never see another soul. I have no idea how regulated it is now, but if it's still like that where you can get out and about freely, it's well worth the visit, as it had a really neat feel to it. I would guess though that a lot of those old roads have been closed now. I guess none of that is much help, except to say it's a neat place.


Jan 17, 2012
Painted Hand Pueblo, Lowry Pueblo and Sand Canyon are the main sites that are easy to get to. There's also the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores.

You can still explore the backcountry of the Monument, but some roads have been closed and there's a lot of private property which makes it a little difficult to get to places without doing your research prior to the trip, and even then I have come across roads that I thought were open that were closed and no trespassing signs.


Aug 6, 2015
Thanks Y’all! Maybe Bears Ears has attracted the crowds for the time being.
I’m thinking strongly about wandering about northern New Mexico and southern Colorado next summer. Canyons of the Ancients sounds like a perfect addition to the itinerary!
As always, thanks for your help.

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Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
Apr 15, 2015
You will like it a lot. Do it any way you like. Bushwhacking from site to site was way too much fun. There are so many variations and possibilities...and the entire landscape is just magical.
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