Yucca House National Monument

JMorgan parks monuments

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Yucca House National Monument preserves one of the largest archaeological sites in southwestern Colorado. The ruin was first visited by William H. Holmes in 1875 with the US Geological Expedition. He named the piles of rubble, Aztec Springs, a result of the belief that this area was settled by Aztecs from Mexico.   Holmes provided the first map of the un-excavated site, which was revised in 1918 when Jessie W. Fewkes studied and remapped the pueblo.  

There are two major sites within the Monument, the Western Complex and the Lower House. The Western Complex is a “D” shaped pueblo with up to 600 rooms, 100 kivas, a tower, and a Great Kiva. This pueblo was constructed with adobe brick, starting at 1076 CE and finished by 1093 CE. The use of adobe brick was rare during the period. A fresh water spring runs through the middle of the site on a rise above the Lower House. The Lower House Pueblo is constructed in an “L” shape, with what is surmised as 8 lower floor rooms, a plaza with a Great Kiva, which is enclosed by a wall.  

At the Monument there is no Visitor Center or facilities. The Monument is surrounded by private property on a dirt road, which can become a challenge during wet weather. Driving Directions (no signage on roads):

“From the intersection of Highway 160 and 191, travel south for approximately 8 miles; turn right on MC County Road B (green sign), a dirt road one mile south of MC Road C. Drive 0.8 miles, crossing paved road (MC Road 21); take the next dirt road to the right before the farmhouse on the left (As you make this turn, you will cross a yellow cattle guard and pass a “Box Bar Ranch, No Trespassing Sign.” The sign does not apply to the County Road. Follow this road north and west for 1.4 miles, and head toward the white ranch house with the red roof on the west horizon. Once at the ranch house, Yucca National Monument is on the left side of the driveway. It is important to be courteous toward the private landowners and close all gates behind you as you enter to prevent livestock from escaping” Once at the parking area, follow the boardwalk and enter the monument through a small gate. NPS Directions Link

Yucca House Visitor Guide

Yucca House National Monument

C/O Mesa Verde National Park