Using GPS to find your way to Hovenweep is not recommended. Since Hovenweep has 6 different units with numerous paved and dirt roads intesecting each other, GPS will send visitors to unknown locations other than to the park. Using a map is recommended.
Things To Do
A small campground near the visitor center is open year-round on a first-come, first-served basis. The 31-site campground is designed for tent camping, though a few sites will accommodate RVs up to 36 feet long. Groups are limited to eight people and two vehicles. Sites include tent pads, fire rings and picnic tables with shade structures, however there are no hookups available. The fee is $10.00 per night; valid federal lands passes are honored. Flush toilets and running water are available at the campground restrooms. Running water is available only during the summer months and there is a five gallon limit per person. Generator use hours are 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The trail system at Hovenweep provides visitors excellent views of all the archeological sites. The Square Tower Group features a two mile loop that begins at the visitor center and is a perfect starting point for any visit. Between the visitor center and the first overlook (a distance of roughly 300 yards), the trail is paved and may be traversed by visitors in wheelchairs with assistance. Most visitors spend an hour exploring the area, with the full two-mile loop taking at least 1.5 hours.
Visitors may also explore the outlying sites, which include Cajon, Cutthroat Castle, Holly and Horseshoe/Hackberry. Most areas have very short (a half mile or less one-way) trails which are primitive and lightly maintained. Backpacking is not permitted at Hovenweep. Outlier roads may become inaccessible during inclement weather.
Rangers conduct short porch and overlook talks on a regular basis spring through fall. Evening programs are presented May through September in the campground amphitheater. Subjects vary from season to season. Please contact the park or ask at the visitor center for current schedules. Guided walks and other interpretive programs can be arranged for larger groups. Please contact us in advance.
There are many compelling stories told about Hovenweep. One story observes that several of the structures and rock art panels seem designed to mark major celestial events such as the summer solstice. While this is largely conjecture, the open skies of Hovenweep certainly draw one's attention, and fortunately the night sky is about as dark today as it was 700 years ago.
Did You Know?
Pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson visited this area in 1874 and called it "Hovenweep," a Ute/Paiute word that means "deserted valley."