Although headquartered just across the border in Utah, Hovenweep Monument has several ruin sites to the east in Colorado. The main attraction is Square Tower, which is located by the visitor center in Utah.
The trails on the Colorado side can be accessed most of the way by an unmanaged dirt road. Some are located next to the “Painted Hand” ruin from the Canyons of the Ancients, which is nice and makes it easy to see both national monuments at the same time.
One of a Kind Camping
The campground has 31 scenic sites in a circle, open first come, first serve. Several sites look out over a canyon, while others have the Sleeping Ute Mountain to gaze upon. Most are for tent camping, though some will accommodate RVs up to 36′.
It’s an ideal campground in the high desert, located next to the visitor center and the two mile hike around the monument’s main attraction: Square Tower Group. Campsites cost only $10, water is supplied, restrooms, fire pits, and tables with sun awnings. To get into the park it costs $6 for a vehicle and $3 for walk-in, motorcycle or bicycle.
Here are several of Hovenweep’s top attractions: Square Tower, Horseshoe & Hackleberry, Holly, Cutthroat Castle, Cajun.
Square Tower (Rim Rock Trail)
The main rim rock trail takes approx. 1.5 hours and is quite scenic. There are several old towers perched atop a canyon cliff. Hovenweep Castle is the main attraction.
Horseshoe and Hackleberry
Both are seen along the same mile round-trip hike. The ruins are in good shape and are quite the sight.
You can drive to the edge of the trailhead. It’s a short hike from here. Several towers on top of a canyon.
The road is not very developed. Most cars should be fine, but SUV and high-clearance is performed. Be prepared to walk the last 0.8 miles trail unless you have a Jeep. The castle itself has several old ruins, each a sight to see. The road is the same as going to Painted Hand of Canyon of the Ancients.
The Cajun group is located the most southerly in Utah. It’s not super well marked, so keep your eyes peeled for it.