Ute Mountain Tribal Park

This is the future "Visitor's Center" that was constructed using authentic architecture for the area. There is a complete kiva located underground that provides a very interesting setting during the introduction to the tour. Access to the Ute Mountain Tribal Park is only possible with a Ute tour guide.

A sample of the many thousands of pieces of pottery commonly referred to as pottery shards that line the trails. There are many different sources of the pottery demonstrating the trading network that existed. There are trails that lead from the Ute Mountain Tribal Park to Chaco, Grand Canyon, Hovenweep, and other trading clans.

Ernest House is a fifth generation Native American from the Ute Tribe that was raised in the canyon. Ernest is the Great Grandson of Acowitz House who told the Wetherill Brothers (the first white men to enter the area) of Mesa Verde. The Son of Acowitz was Chief Jack House, the last to serve as traditional chief of the Ute tribe. Ernest has served as Chairman of the Tribal Council, it's highest office.

Ernest was our tour guide and honored us with many Native American stories and visions into the life of both the Ute ancestors and the Ancient Pueblo Ancestors. The picture above has Earnest at his birth place with a self pictograph painted by his Grand Father, Chief Jack House. The red paint was given to the Ute's in the early 40's intended to be used to mark the sheep.

There are many Anasazi Petroglyphs in the canyon. This one seems to tell a hunting story. Other stories on the stones tell of the life and activities of the Anasazi.

The first cliff dwelling we visited is called the Tree House. Actually the trees in front of the ruin are recent to the ruins and did not exist during the time that the ruins were occupied for a short time somewhere around 1050 to 1225 AD. All the ruins we visited were very original with only the most minimal stabilization performed. The Ute's have cataloged all the artifacts and placed those that were fragile at the Anasazi Cultural Center in Delores, Colorado for future use by the Utes.

Morris 5 Ruin

There are four ruins that are included on the full day tour. All of the ruins included on the tour are located within a short distance of each other in alcoves of Lion's Canyon. Entry to the canyon requires descent down three ladders as you drop about 90 feet from the mesa top.

Eagle Nest is the last of the ruins open to the public on the tour. Access to this ruin is provided by a fourth ladder about 30 feet long and not for the faint of heart.


The tour offered by the Southern Ute Mountain Tribal Park is highly recommended. The guides are very knowledgeable and offer more than the simple explanations commonly provided. The tour is offered as a half day or as the recommended full day which includes the cliff dwellings. The hike is relatively mild and probably less than a mile. Reservations are required... please call:

1-800-847-5485 or (970)-565-3751 ext. 282.

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E-mail: ron@neartime.com