Western Colorado

Canyon of the Ancients Trail

The Quiet Our Ancestors Heard

The Four Corners country may be the best place in the state to experience a true natural quiet. Here, inside national monuments called Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients, below red-rock cliffs and desert mesas, you will have the rare opportunity to get away from human sounds. At any given moment, the sky is more likely to be full of White-throated Swifts and Turkey Vultures than airplanes, and the canyons more often reflect the songs of Gray Vireos and the wailing of coyotes than the chugging of gas drills and four-wheel-drive motors. Because the pinyons, junipers and sagebrush have no moving parts, even the wind makes little sound. You are unlikely to run into people here, but you will certainly see ancient traces of them: this trail passes through the highest density of archaeological sites in the country. More ruins than Mesa Verde, but far less traffic-it’s a formula for a terrific experience.