Trail of The Ancients

Trail of the Ancients

Length: 116 miles (480 miles CO/UT total)
Driving time: 3 hours

The Anasazi—the "Ancient Ones" to the later Navajo—guarded their secrets closely. We know they dominated the Colorado Plateau for hundreds of years, yet basic questions about them - who they were, how they lived, what they believed - remain less than fully resolved. This 114-mile route across the broken, arid terrain of their former civilization is heavily laden with clues: cliff dwellings, rock art, pottery shards. Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park both contain dense clusters of Anasazi remains, and the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores offers background and interpretive information. One branch of the byway leads to the Four Corners Area, connecting Utah's Trail of the Ancients byway.

Trail of the Ancients was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 2005. It is one of 13 America's Byways® designated in Colorado.

Trail of the Ancients Photo Tour


Trail of the Ancients won a National Scenic Byway Foundation's 2020 Public-Private Partnership Award for the McElmo Creek Flume Restoration. Read more about this award and project online at