Posts Tagged With: cliff dwellings

Walnut Canyon National Monument

It is thought that cliff dwellings of Walnut Canyon were abandoned in 1250, having been lived in just over 100 years.

The grandeur of the Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings is hard to capture in a small photo. Hoping for a better look, we held tight to the railing and started down the dizzying 185-foot, 240-step pathway to reach the Island Trail.

The “island” refers to the large rock and hill that stands behind it which jut out into the middle of the canyon (photo above right). The trail encircles the two outcroppings, passing within feet of multiple ruins. Across the expanse of the canyon are numerous other dwellings, all once inhabited by the Sinagua people.

We hadn’t intended on visiting Walnut Canyon, although several people had told us it was well worth the trip…and it was. If climbing down and up the trail is not your thing, or if you’re bothered by heights, the view from the rim is pretty spectacular too.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hidden Treasures

Today our adventure took us well off the beaten path.

We bounced down six long miles on a dirt road today, determined to visit the Palatki Heritage Site, one of the two largest cliff dwelling sites found among the red rocks in the Sedona, Arizona area.

After a short walk up through the trees to the bottom of the cliff, we reached the ruins of the ancient Sinagua people who lived in the area from 1150 – 1300 A.D. A ranger was on hand to explain a little bit of what is known about the lives of cliff dwellers.

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Mesa Verde: Home to Pueblo people in the 13th Century

Cliff Palace was the most spectacular ruin we saw today.

The Anasazis, now referred to as Ancenstral Pueblo people, built some of the most impressive North American structures during the 1100s and 1200s in what is now southwestern Colorado. Known as Mesa Verde, the villages were built beneath cliffs using sandstone.
Circular kivas were used for ceremonies. The Pueblo people lived in the cliff dwellings for only about 100 years. There are several theories about why they left: Drought, crop failures, or perhaps political problems?
It is about a 45-minute drive to the national park entrance from Durango, then 20 miles of mostly climbing to the museum and trail heads. By mid-April, when all the trails are open, Mesa Verde could easily provide three days of exploring.
 

The 20-mile drive from the park entrance provides spectacular views.

Spruce House is the best-preserved of the cliff dwellings.

The 2.4-mile trek to Petroglyph Point, shown in the photos below, was a cliff-hugging, up-and-down path that required us to register at the trailhead just in case. We might have walked past the petroglyphs if there had not been a small sign leading us to look to the wall above.
 

The Petroglyph Point walk provided some expansive vistas.

These petroglyphs have survived the elements for about 800 years.

 

The walk back provided settings reminiscent of the top of Half Dome in Yosemite.

 

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