Visiting in Summer

Twin Towers structures with Little Ruin Canyon in background
Twin Towers is part of the Square Tower Group, a cluster of structures located near the visitor center.

NPS Photo

Summers at Hovenweep are hot and dry, with temperatures often reaching the high 90s and over 100ºF. Early June is biting gnat season. Late July to early September is monsoon season. Visitors should plan wisely to avoid high temps and thunderstorms.

dark storm clouds over Sleeping Ute Mountain
Monsoon season can turn bright blue skies to dark and stormy, sometimes within a half hour.

NPS Photo

What You Need to Know

Hovenweep is quieter in the summer, and for good reason. Visitors should prepare for extreme summer conditions in the high desert.


Summer temperatures often exceed 100ºF (38ºC), making strenuous exercise difficult. Late summer monsoon season brings violent storm cells, which may cause flash floods. Check the weather forecast for updated conditions.

Summer Safety

Plan to hike early and drink plenty of water, eat salty snacks, and wear sun protection. Learn more about hiking safely. Finish hiking in the morning during monsoon season to avoid possible afternoon lightning and flash flooding. Tent campers should have rain flies and be prepared for flooding conditions.


Water is available from bottle-filling stations near the visitor center as well as water spigots in the visitor center parking lot and in front of the campground restrooms. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons of water per person per day. Water is not available at outlier sites.

Visitor Center

The visitor center is open every day in the summer. Check our hours page for current times.


The campground is open year-round and is first-come, first-served. The campground rarely fills in the summer. Most campsites have a sun shade over the picnic table, but do not have much other shade. Tent campers should have rain flies and be prepared for flooding conditions. Check the fees page for camping fees.

bright yellow and turquoise collared lizard
Summer is a good time for spotting colored lizards as they sun themselves on warm rocks.

NPS Photo

Things to Do


Trails are open sunrise to sunset. We highly recommend hiking early in the morning and finishing by noon to avoid high heat and afternoon monsoon rains. Be aware that temperatures may already be 70°F or higher by 7 am.
The most popular trail is the Square Tower Loop, which leaves from the visitor center or from the campground. In the summer heat or during monsoon season, we recommend shorter hikes along this trail, like an out-and-back hike to Hovenweep Castle.

For a short walk, take the sidewalk to the Canyon Overlook from the visitor center.


Summer stargazing is a must if the night is clear. Nights are cooler but typically not cold. Although cloudy skies are common, mid-summer is perfect to spot the Milky Way arching overhead. Visitors are welcome to stargaze from their campsite or the visitor center parking lot. Trails are closed after sunset. Astronomy programs are typically offered in summer, weather permitting. Check our stargazing page for more information and events.

Ranger Talks

Rangers give a variety of talks in the summer. Ranger-guided walks may be postponed in the height of summer to avoid extreme weather. Check out our events below or call the visitor center for programs and times.

Other Activities

Kids (and adults!) can earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing activities in the Hovenweep Junior Ranger Booklet [1.5 MB PDF file]. Booklets are also available in the visitor center.

The 18-minute park film, Silence of the Centuries, is available upon request in the visitor center.


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    Last updated: October 31, 2018

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    McElmo Route
    Cortez, CO 81321


    970 562-4282 x5

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