Trail of the Ancients

National Scenic BywayColorado, Utah

Top Photos

  • Dunes and Totems

    Rivulets of golden sand, formed by the wind, crawl towards the horizon. In the background, totems rise off of the desert floor.

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  • Butler Wash Indian Ruins

    For hundreds of years this niche has protected these American Indian cliff dwellings.

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  • Valley of the Gods

    Jutting into the clear blue sky, a clump of mountains rises from the daunting desert landscape.

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  • Dancer at the Utah Navajo Fair

    This young woman is preparing for her turn on the dance floor, a pounded dirt area adjacent to a covered drumming area, at the Utah Navajo Fair, held each fall in Bluff. One of the most exciting events at the fair is the fancy dress dance competition.

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  • Pottery at Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum

    The painted pottery bowl, beakers, and cup featured here are typical of the pottery found at the Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum.

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  • Kiva and Ladder at Three Kiva Pueblo

    Visitors may climb the ladder into the reconstructed kiva and wander through the residence block around the kiva at the Three Kiva Pueblo.

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  • Replica of Bluff Meeting House and Covered Wagon

    This photo shows the replica of the original meeting house in Bluff, established in 1880, with a "prairie schooner" parked in the yard. The meeting house was used for church services, community gatherings, the first school, and court. As the community grew, other buildings were constructed to meet each of those needs.

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  • Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park

    The largest cliff dwelling in North America, Cliff Palace is one of the major ruins in Mesa Verde National Park. The buildings were constructed primarily using sandstone, mortar, and wooden beams.

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  • "D" shaped tower at Hovenweep National Monument

    Around 1200 AD, thousands of stones were piled to form this "D" shaped tower, a form not seen often in the Four Corners region. The builders of the towers at Hovenweep used this shape, along with square and round towers.

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  • "The Mittens" at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

    Signatures of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, The Mittens are free-standing sandstone buttes which rise from the floor of Monument Valley. The buttes are easily viewable from the visitor center.

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  • Inside the Kiva at the Mule Canyon Ruins

    This is the wall inside the kiva at Mule Canyon Ruin. Over time the kiva's roof has completely disintegrated.

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  • Balcony House At Mesa Verde National Park

    Visitors explore the Balcony House at the Pueblo dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.

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  • A Native American Pottery Artist at the Indian Art Market

    The Indian Art Market, part of the annual Indian Arts and Western Culture Festival held in Mesa Verde Country, features 40 Native American artists. This artist is painting details on pots ready to sell.

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  • Hovenweep National Monument -- Square Tower Ruin

    Taken from the canyon below, in the distance is the Square Tower Ruin.

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View all 69 photos for this byway.