On our recent visit to Canyons of the Ancients Museum and Visitor Center in Dolores, CO we were reminded of the tens of thousands of archeological sites in this area. One must-see is the Lowry Pueblo located 30 – 40 minutes west of the museum.
The museum offers excellent information to review before heading out …
Excavated in the 1930’s, Lowry was examined, mapped and photographed, then carefully backfilled to preserve the artifacts.
There are diagrams of the pueblo’s layout, as well as details to the significance of the site because of the intricate murals found in several kivas. (Tip: in the museum there is a preserved piece of mural, seen below.)
Getting there …
You will drive to the town of Pleasant View, CO where there is a sign for Hovenweep National Monument and the Lowry Pueblo, turn left onto County Road CC (MC RD CC) driving west.
It’s a pleasant drive through rolling hills, farmland and pastures.
Six miles into the drive you come to the juncture where you can turn left to go to Hovenweep, or continue straight on to the pueblo.
The paved road ends at this juncture, and the next 3 miles is a slightly bumpy dirt and gravel road.
The final signs pointing the way, then turning left onto Road 7.25 and into the parking lot.
This is a very remote area. Stop at the welcome sign to get your bearings as this is a self-guided tour, then it’s a walk up a slight incline on a gravel/dirt path.
A family visiting from Georgia was just leaving the site, headed for nearby Hovenweep ruins. After they left the only sound was the breeze through the pinyon trees and sagebrush.
This large pueblo sits on a hilltop with 360 degree views of the surrounding valleys. The structure you see has a large metal roof that protects the Great House from deterioration.
Above: looking south is Ute Mountain, to the west The Abajo Mountains (The Blues) in Utah, to the north the La Sal Mountains in Utah, and to northeast rich and fertile farmland in Colorado.
On this hilltop, you stand in a pueblo from 1060 A.D. One can feel connected to the place, the land, the sun and wind … the only thing separating you from ancient inhabitants is time.
There are two more significant areas that make these ruins unique.
You can venture into the Great House to see the kiva with ancient plaster still visible. Duck down to enter through the small doorway, then stand and walk into the kiva. The temperature drops and all sound is insulated as you enter the structure.
As you exit the pueblo, the Great Kiva measuring close to fifty feet in diameter is before you down a gravel/dirt path. Look for signs, this is sometimes easy to miss and you definitely don’t want to leave before seeing this.
An amazing structure, and one can only imagine the ceremonies that took place over 900 years ago.
We recommend at least 1 – 2 hours to explore this site. Staff at the museum are very helpful with directions and what to look for, and there are informational markers at the site as well.
Wishing you Happy Discoveries!
Amy & Mr.D
Check out our article on the Canyons of the Ancients Museum and Visitor Center here.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Guidebooks available at the site or at the Canyons of the Ancients Museum and Visitor Center
Bring your own water, a hat and sunscreen
Suggested visitation time with driving is 3 hours
The Great Kiva
AMENITIES & SERVICES
A very impressive site. The videos are great, almost like being there. Thanks so much for the page and allowing me to view the scenery.
Wayne, thank you for traveling along with us. We’re trying to include more video, glad it was helpful!
You are so amazing to continue doing this. You passion for the Southwest comes through every new edition. I was particularly delighted to note the Pueblo doorway and how well engineered it is, considering the opening is still intact. What a culture. As for the Kiva…a perfect circle. Thank you for sharing.
Stew, we have a pact to be forever tourists in our own region. It was love at first site for the SW.
Thank you for advising to visit the museum first then on to the Lowry. What a treasure that they have preserved the actual platser from the kiva with designs. Can’t wait to go!
Danielle, make sure you allow for at least 2 hours min. at the museum, and have a wonderful time at the site!
Very informative. Inspired to see this some day.
Doc, be sure to stop by the museum first. It makes the Lowry experience all the more meaningful.
Could spend a lifetime out there discovering!
Ally, could not agree more. Take three steps and you’re onto a new adventure.
Thank you for the tips and directions. This looks like it might be tricky to find and the signage on what to look for is very helpful. Nice post and video.
Trev, if you go send pics so we can share with everyone. Happy trails!