Yucca House National Monument preserves a large Ancestral Puebloan surface site in southwestern Colorado. It is located west of Mesa Verde National Park between the towns of Towaoc and Cortez. The ancient structures are on the gently sloping base of the Sleeping Ute Mountain.
The original name of "Aztec Springs" was given to the site in the late 19th century, and was based on the spring that is still there today. At that time, archeologists believed these ancient sites were built by the Aztec people of Mexico. The name "Yucca House" was selected for the monument because the Ute Indians called Sleeping Ute Mountain by a name meaning yucca, for there is an abundance of the yucca plant growing on the mountainsides.
The site is now a cluster of mounds with only subtle signs of walls rising above the surface. Due to the large size and extent of the mounds, there is every reason to believe that, when excavated, they will prove of great archeological interest and educational significance. The land where Yucca House resides (approximately 10 acres) was a gift from the late Henry Van Kleeck of Denver, Colorado. The stone used to build Yucca House is mainly fossilferous limestone that outcrops along the base of the Mesa Verde tableland a mile away. The mounds have been known for many years, and were first described by Professor William H. Holmes in 1877. The two most conspicuous mounds were designated by him as the "Upper House" and the "Lower House". The former is the most prominent of all the mounds in this ancient site, rising from 15 to 20 feet above its foundation, and dominating the many smaller mounds which surround it. The "Lower House" is different, and stands isolated by a hundred yards from the cluster of mounds that compose and include the "Upper House".
There are currently no facilities at Yucca House National Monument. You may want to download and take the visitor guide with you. Once there, sign the visitor book, walk around the mounds, and absorb the beauty of the site in this valley. Try to imagine life here hundreds of years ago.
You will be driving on dirt roads and through private land to reach Yucca House. Follow the directions carefully, and please be respectful of private property. The monument is under the supervision of the Superintendent at Mesa Verde National Park. Please contact Mesa Verde National Park at (970) 529-4465 if you have questions.