The name Hovenweep is Paiute/Ute word meaning "deserted valley." The area was once home to more than 2,500 people in 900 A.D. In 1923, Hovenweep was proclaimed by President Warren G. Harding a unit of the national park system.
These ancient Pueblo ruins include towers that remind visitors of European castles. Straddling the Utah-Colorado border, the ruins were built about the same time as medieval fortresses.
The largest and most accessible of the six units of ruins is Square Tower, where several well-preserved structures are located. The area was home for several prehistoric farming villages. Throughout the ruins, visitors may find castles, towers, check dams (for irrigation), cliff dwellings, pueblos and houses. Petroglyphs (rock art) can also be found in the area.
Many outlying groups are available for visitation as well. They include Holly, Horseshoe, Hackberry, Cutthroat Castle and Cajon. The land surrounding the area is owned by the Navajo Nation, Bureau of Land Management, State of Utah and private landowners.
There is a system of three loop trails at the Square Tower Unit. The daily average temperature in the summer is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 C). Hovenweep National Monument is 20 miles north of Aneth on a gravel and paved road. There is one campground. Closest accommodations are in Bluff or Blanding.