State of the Park
On January 24, 1923 Aztec Ruins became a National Monument through the executive order of President Warren G. Harding. Since then, the park has grown considerably. Over time, the park's boundaries were expanded to include East Ruin and North Ruin as well as many smaller structures. On December 8, 1987 the monument was honored with its UNESCO World Heritage designation along with Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The designation recognizes the outstanding universal value of ancestral Pueblo architecture and culture. Today the monument plays an active role in the local community and has strong partnerships with local governments and schools. These partnerships help support the local economy and foster a next generation of National Park Service stewards.
Did You Know?
Aztec Ruins lies near the banks of the "River of Lost Souls." In 1776, a Spanish exploration party noted many ancestral Pueblo ruins as they crossed the Animas River valley looking for California. Father Escalante named the stream "Rio de las Animas Perdidas," or "river of lost souls."