|Hovenweep Square Tower Ruins
Length: 1.5 miles round trip
Description: Hovenweep National Monument shelters impressive groups of prehistoric, Puebloan-era Anasazi villages, located along the Utah/Colorado border in the Four Corners area. Many ruins sit on top the rims of desert canyons. Others are hidden down in the canyons themselves. The ruins consist of large D-shaped "castles," mysterious square towers and many smaller rock structures. They are extremely photogenic. Remember, look but don't touch or climb on the rockwork.
A visitor center and campground have been established near the Square Tower ruins complex. The visitor center has restrooms and information, but no other services. From the visitor center, a loop trail leads along the rim of the canyon, past several prominent ruins, and then crosses the canyon to return to the visitor center.
Perhaps the most famous structure, Hovenweep Castle, was built on top rim rock along the top edge of the canyon. It is a magnificent example of ancient stone architecture.
The trail follows the rim to the top of the canyon, past several more impressive structures. It then continues following the rim down the far side of the canyon, providing scenic views in all directions.
You can follow the canyon rim for miles, if you want. But most of the ruins are clustered near the head of the canyon. The main trial drops down into the canyon and crosses back over to the north side, so you can loop back to the visitor center.
The campground is set off away from the visitor center and the cluster of ruins. You can easily hike the loop starting at the campground, just follow the canyon rim until you get onto the main trail. Starting at the campground adds about .5 miles to the hike.