Post by 1dave on Oct 28, 2021 11:07:45 GMT -5
The Trail of the Ancients is a National Scenic Byway located in the states of Colorado and Utah. The route highlights the archaeological and cultural history of southwestern Native American peoples, and traverses the widely diverse geological landscape of the Four Corners region of the Colorado Plateau. It was the first National Scenic Byway that was designated solely for its archaeological sites. The entire route is approximately 480 miles (772.5 km) long.
The National Scenic Byway connects prehistoric sites of Native Americans, including the Navajo, Utes and early puebloan people, who lived and farmed in the Four Corners area from about 1 CE to about 1300 CE. There were people hunting and gathering for food in the Four Corners region by 10,000 B.C. or earlier. Geological features include sandstone-rimmed canyons, snow-capped mountains, red rock landscapes and green valleys. Most of the stops — archaeological sites, Native American lands or modern communities — are near or on paved roads, but some of the roads are rugged graded roads.
Four Corners to Mesa Verde
Four Corners marker
Four Corners Monument recognizes the only quadripoint in the United States. Members of the Navajo Nation (Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico), and the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation (Colorado) live in the Four Corners region on land surrounding the monument.
From the monument, the byway follows U.S. Route 160, crossing the San Juan River and continuing in a northeasterly direction[nb 1], merging with U.S. Route 491 near the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park Visitor Center. The park has archaeological evidence of Ancestral Puebloan sites and the Ute culture. The route turns northerly, passing Ute Mountain and Yucca House National Monument, an unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan site.
Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace
The route continues along U.S. Routes 160 / 491 to Cortez, the county seat of Montezuma County. Located within the city are the Cortez Cultural Center and Hawkins Preserve and Hawkins Pueblo. The Cortez Cultural Center has interpretive exhibits of the Navajo and Ute Native Americans and the early Puebloan people.
A spur of the byway follows Main Street / U.S. 160 east from Cortez to the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park, a U.S. national park preserving over 4000 archaeological sites - including 600 cliff dwellings - of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Mesa Verde is designated as a World Heritage Site.
Cortez to Hovenweep
Anasazi Heritage Center - Escalante Pueblo
The Colorado section of the byway continues north and west on state highways 145 and 184 from Cortez, passing Dolores, the McPhee Reservoir, and the Anasazi Heritage Center, a museum of the Ancient Pueblo (or Anasazi) and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region. Escalante and Dominguez Pueblos are located on the center's site. The museum is also the location of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument visitor center.
The byway briefly follows U.S. 491 through the unincorporated communities of Lewis, Yellow Jacket, and Pleasant View, before entering Canyons of the Ancients National Monument proper, a Bureau of Land Management site comprising over 6000 archaeological ruins over 183,000 acres., on Montezuma County Road CC.
Hovenweep National Monument
Along the byway is Lowry Pueblo, National Historic Landmark originally excavated in the 1930s and dating to around 1060 AD. The byway continues towards the Utah border along Montezuma County Road 10, crossing the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, a historic trade route connecting Santa Fe with Los Angeles.
At the Utah state line, the byway becomes San Juan County Road 213 (Hovenweep Road), passing some of the outlying sites of Hovenweep National Monument Hovenweep National Monument preserves six sites Ancestral Puebloan settlements in Utah and Colorado.
Sun sculpture at Edge of the Cedars State Park
The Utah portion of the byway follows a patchwork of federal (U.S. Route 163, U.S. Route 191), state (Utah State Route 95, Utah State Route 261, Utah State Route 262), and local roads in San Juan County and northern Navajo Nation.
Hovenweep to Bluff and Blanding
After crossing the state border into Utah and passing the entrance to Hovenweep National Monument, the byway heads west to White Mesa and the junction with U.S. Route 191. South of White Mesa, the byway connects to Bluff and the southwestern sections of the byway; north of White Mesa, the route connects to Blanding and Edge of the Cedars State Park. The park features Anasazi ruins, a museum, and artifacts that provide a detailed view of how the Ancestral Puebloan lived and worked.
The northernmost spur of the byway extends to Monticello, Utah. Nearby features include Manti–La Sal National Forest and Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, one of the largest known collection of petroglyphs from indigenous peoples who lived in the area 2,000 years ago.
Blanding to Natural Bridges
Bears Ears National Monument
West of Blanding, the byway follows U.S. Route 95 across Comb Ridge and through Comb Wash, before ascending the eastern side of Cedar Mesa and entering Bears Ears National Monument.
The monument is co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service, along with a coalition of five local Native American tribes: the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni, all of which have ancestral ties to the region. Nearby ruins include the partially reconstructed Mule Canyon Ruin and the Butler Wash cliff dwellings.
A short spur of the byway connects to Natural Bridges National Monument. The park loop passes three of the largest natural bridges in the world.
Natural Bridges to Monument Valley
Owachomo Natural Bridge
The byway heads south on Utah State Route 95 atop Cedar Mesa, passing the Grand Gulch Primitive Area and the eastern reaches of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, before descending the plateau at Moki Dugway and entering the Valley of the Gods. A few miles through the valley is the turnoff for Goosenecks State Park, just outside the town of Mexican Hat.
The southwestern spur of the byway proceeds along U.S. 163 through Mexican Hat and crosses the San Juan River into Navajo Nation. This section of the byway ends at the Arizona border, within Monument Valley and at the entrance to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
Mexican Hat to Four Corners
The byway parallels the San Juan River east and north of Mexican Hat, once again crossing Comb Ridge and intersecting with U.S. 191 and Utah State Route 162 near Bluff. The byway continues through the San Juan valley , passing through Montezuma Creek, UT and Aneth, UT before reentering the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation in Colorado and intersecting with U.S. 160 east of the Four Corners Monument.
San Juan Skyway
A section of the Trail of the Ancients between Mesa Verde and Dolores is part of the San Juan Skyway, a National Scenic Byway also designated as an All-American Road.
Kayenta-Monument Valley Scenic Road
The southwestern end of the byway marks the northern end of the Kayenta-Monument Valley Scenic Road, which follows U.S. 163 from Monument Valley south to Kayenta.
Monument Valley to Bluff Scenic Byway
U.S. 163 from Monument Valley to Bluff is also its own designated scenic byway, the Monument Valley to Bluff Scenic Byway.
Bicentennial Scenic Byway
The stretch of road from Blanding to Natural Bridges National Monument along Utah State Route 95 is also the Bicentennial Scenic Byway, which continues north on UT-95 to Hanksville, UT.
In 1994 the Colorado Trail of the Ancients was designated a Colorado Scenic Byway. The Utah Trail of the Ancients was made a state byway about 1990. Since each state's designation, improvements have been made towards national eligibility.
The Trail of the Ancients was designated a National Scenic Byway on September 22, 2005 by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The designation was the first National Scenic Byway that totally focused its sites' archaeological qualities.[nb 2]
Arizona and New Mexico are applying to have the portions of the Trail of the Ancients in their states designated National Scenic Byways. This would include the Navajo National Monument and the Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. When all four states have official national designations the Trail of the Ancients will acquire the highest status for roads, All-American Road.
The New Mexico Trail of the Ancients was made a New Mexico Scenic Byway after July 13, 1998 and by 2013. As of mid-August 2014, neither Arizona or New Mexico has received a National Scenic Byway designation for the Trail of Ancients portions of the byway in their states.
Blank shield.svg U.S. Roads portal
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado portal
Flag of Utah.svg Utah portal
Scenic byways in the United States
At the intersection of State Road-41, the northwesterly road leads to the Utah section of the Trail of the Ancients
Senate Bill 1414 was introduced on July 15, 2005 calling for a "study of the suitability and feasibility of establishing the Trail of the Ancients National Heritage Area in the Four Corners region of the States of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico." The Heritage Area was to include the Trail of Ancients Scenic Byway. It was not enacted.
Trail of the Ancients brochure. Trail of the Ancients Byway Association. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Four Corners Monument. Utah Travel Industry. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
"Cortez Cultural Center." Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2010-07-09.
"Mesa Verde National Park." National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
"Canyons of the Ancients: Background." Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
"Lowry Pueblo." Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
"Old Spanish Trail Association." Retrieved 2010-07-09.
Hovenweep Visitor Guide, National Park Service. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
"Edge of the Cedars State Park." Retrieved 2010-07-11.
Trail of the Ancients brochure. Trail of the Ancients Byway Association. p. 2 Retrieved August 13, 2014.
"Newspaper Rock". Utah Travel Industry Website. Archived from the original on 2009-08-16. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument. Desert USA. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
"Natural Bridges National Monument." Retrieved 2010-07-11.
Trail of the Ancients map. Trail of the Ancients. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Neighboring Byways. Trail of the Ancients. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
San Juan Skyway. Neighboring Byways. Trail of the Ancients. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Trail of the Ancients Corridor Management Plan. Colorado Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Thomas Wharton. "Focus on archaeology a national system first" Salt Lake Times. December 25, 2005. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Trail of the Ancients. Scenic Byways. Colorado Department of Transportation. August 13, 2014.
Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway. Archived 2014-08-14 at the Wayback Machine Utah Travel Industry. October 4, 2005. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
National Scenic Byways Program. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
Senate bill 1414 - Trail of the Ancients National Heritage Act Study Act of 2005 - introduced July 15, 2005. GovTrak. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Congress. Congressional Record, V. 151, Pt. 12, July 14 to July 22, 2005. Government Printing Office. p. 337. GGKEY:EQ7ZDQLQWX8.
18 NMAC 31.2 New Mexico Scenic and Historic Byways Program. Transportation and Highways. New Mexico Legislation. Filed February 27, 1998. Effective July 31, 1998. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
New Mexico Designated Unique or Valuable Scenic Landscapes. United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Issued in 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2014. Note: Not the best source as not an official list, but it wouldn't have made it onto the list if it wasn't a byway at that point
America Byways. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
Trail of the Ancients