Hovenweep Family Trip
The Hovenweep Family biking trip is great for kids from 4 to 14. It includes some wonderful riding sections perfect for younger kids on trail-along bikes or older kids on their own bikes. The Ancenstral Puebloan ruins are fascinating for everyone! Hovenweep is a very special place that provides a wonderful spring break for the whole family: culture, exercise, and family time in the great outdoors.
After meeting in Durango, we will head west to the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado. The center is the perfect introduction to the Ancestral Puebloan culture. In addition to two 12th century archaeological sites, there are interactive exhibits on weaving and food preparation. There are also many displays of pots, jewelry and architecture. After lunch at the center we will shuttle over to the northern boundary of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. From here we will take a short family ride that begins with a pavement warm up and ends on a dirt road with lots of bumps and wiggles. Our ride brings us to a short hiking trail which leads right to Cutthroat Castle. After exploring this, we will take a short pedal to our camp on the rim of the canyon overlooking the Painted Hand ruin site. TOTAL MILEAGE: 7 miles riding, 1 mile hiking
Today we ride right out of camp along a smooth dirt road that brings us out to Pedro Point and its fascinating ruin. The main Pedro Point Road is double track with a few bumpy, loose sections to keep us on our toes and there are beautiful views in all directions. The ruin is nestled in the piñon pine and juniper forest on the edge of yet another lovely canyon. After lunch we will head south to the Hovenweep National Monument Visitor Center. Here we will find the famous Square Tower group and Circle Tower Point. After hiking to the point, those with extra energy can continue around the entire loop while the rest of the group heads over to the campground, our home for the next two nights. TOTAL MILEAGE: 11 miles riding, 1 - 4 miles hiking
This morning we will ride from camp this morning north to the Holly Hackberry Road. This area is the home to three beautiful ruins. The Horseshoe Unit is composed of four masonry structures that blend beautifully into the landscape. Each stone was shaped and fitted into place with a clay, sand, and ash mortar that still holds them in place some 800 years later. At the Hackberry Unit, archeologists speculate that over 300 people lived in this area at its height. The seep at the head of this canyon provides one of the more reliable water sources in the region. From here we go on to the Holly group and the famous Tilted Tower. This tower was built on a large sandstone boulder that shifted some time after the canyon was abandoned around 1300 AD. After lunch, those ready for more can hike the 4 mile Holly Trail which finishes right back at our camp, or do a ride from the ruin. The rest of us will shuttle or bike back to camp the way we came. TOTAL MILEAGE: 6 - 20 miles riding, 2 - 6 miles hiking
Today we leave our Hovenweep camp and shuttle east to Cannonball Mesa. From our camp just below the mesa top we will head out to find the Cannonball ruin. A steep and loose climb will bring us to the top of the mesa. Most of us will do a bit of a hike-a-bike to get to the top, but from there it is smooth sailing along the top of the mesa. Again the views are 360 degrees, with Sleeping Ute Mountain watching over us and the mighty La Plata Mountains in the distance. We will have lunch at the ruin. When we return from the ruin the kids will be working on their interpretive skit for the evening, giving the parents a chance to do a longer ride or hike in the afternoon. TOTAL MILEAGE: 7 - 25 miles riding
Before we return to the 21st century, we will make our way over to Mesa Verde National Park. Starting with the impressive museum and visitor center, we will have the chance to further our knowledge about these fascinating ancient people. We will do a self guided tour of the Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde’s best preserved cliff dwelling. The vegetation we will encounter along the way is the same used by the ancestral puebloans for food, soap and many of the needs and activites of daily living. After lunch we will do a guided tour of the famous Balcony House. This dwelling includes 35 rooms and was occupied for over 100 years—a great finale for our tour. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 20 miles, other options available
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Packed dirt, loose dirt, gravel, sandstone and pavement.
Overall Rating: Introductory/Intermediate
Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Physical Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Altitude: 4,500 - 5,500 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.