A Guide to the Four Corners (2023)

Nestled on the Colorado Plateau among ancient volcanic mountains, sculpted hills and rugged canyons, the Four Corners region, where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona meet, is rich in cultural and geological wonders.

the four corners

A thousand years ago, this region was the center of an incredibly complex and influential civilization that thrived throughout the Southwest for several centuries. The Ancestral Puebloans, along with other tribal groups, occupied this land and inhabited places like Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly. Today the region is home to the descendants of these tribes, many of whom have strong ties to these important cultural sites.

From the arid desert ecosystem of Chaco Canyon to the pinyon juniper forests of Mesa Verde, these parks' geographic isolation offers visitors an opportunity to get off the beaten track and find seclusion away from the crowds.

The Four Corners Regional Guide includes:

  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Chelly-Canyon-Nationaldenkmal

Pueblo Bonito im Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Foto © Chris Boyer/Kestrel Aerial Services.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Located about 150 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves more than 15 Chacoan "great houses" that were the centers of the 850 AD to AD 850 AD Pueblo Civilization were. and AD 1150. The scale and development of these communities and economies were unprecedented in the region. The buildings completed by the Puebloans were among the largest buildings erected in North America up until the 19th century. For generations, this complex culture has brought people together from areas as far apart as southern Mexico to buy and exchange items, share knowledge, and celebrate important milestones and religious events.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park was first established as a national monument in 1907 to preserve and tell the story of Chaco Canyon, which remains an important cultural center for tribal communities today. The park protects many of these impressive structures and is one of the largest collections of ancient sites north of Mexico.

Where to start

The park's visitor center offers interpretive exhibits and ranger-led walks through the pueblos.Visit the National Park Service websitefor required fees, passes and possible closures. You can use your America the Beautiful pass or consider visiting on one of the free days. Keep in mind that cell service can be very limited and temperatures can get very hot in the height of summer, even at higher elevations.


While the footprint of Chaco Culture National Historical Park itself is small, the larger contiguous cultural landscape is vast. For many indigenous peoples, park boundaries do not encompass everything that is spiritually and culturally important.


The landscape around the Chaco, including many cultural sites sacred to local tribal communities, is under constant threat from oil and gas exploration. The NPCA supports legislation that would permanently protect the 10 miles surrounding the park and make 315,000 acres inaccessible for lease for fossil fuel extraction.

  • beautiful village: This is the largest of the Chacoan mansions and the most important site in the park. It once contained around 800 rooms and 37 ceremonial chambers or kivas and is said to have housed over a thousand people at its peak.
  • Chetro kettle: This second largest great house in the Chaco contained about 500 rooms and two large kivas.
  • Eckhaus: This site contains the largest kiva of the Chaco culture and is located 6 miles from the visitor center on the 9 mile Canyon Loop Drive. The trail through Casa Rinconada and nearby villages is a half mile round trip and is a great introduction to the architectural diversity that existed at the heart of the Chacoan culture.
  • Pueblo Alto Circuit: This trail takes you up an ancient stairway carved into the rock and into a mesa just north of the big houses, which offers fantastic views of the canyon below.
  • Hiking trail to the ruins of Penasca Blanco: This is the longest path in the gorge and takes you to several petroglyph sites.

#{image description}

(Video) 4 Corners Monument Travel Guide- watch before you go

A time-lapse image of the stars over Casa Rinconada in the Chaco National Historical Park.

National Park Service

Tips for visiting

plan ahead

You won't want to miss out on the unforgettableRanger conducted night sky programin this Dark Sky International Park. You'll have the opportunity to peer through high-powered telescopes and discover how astronomy played a significant role in the architecture and construction of Chaco.

Don't forget to bring binoculars to spot the various petroglyphs and pictographs surrounding the pueblos, including a pictograph depicting a supernova first observed in 1054 AD.

stay overnight

There is no accommodation in the Chaco Canyon National Park. Plan your visit in advance to make the most of your park experiencebook a campsiteand sleep under one of the best dark skies in the American Southwest. If you really want an unforgettable night experience,Visit the park at the solstice, equinox or full moon. The park often has special programs to celebrate these heavenly events. If camping isn't your thing, the nearest lodging is in Bloomfield, New Mexico, over 60 miles (1.5 hours' drive) away, although there are other options a little further afield in the town of Farmington, New Mexico.


Visit this park in spring or fall to enjoy the best weather and avoid the summer heat. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the desert sun. If you plan on going to the park at night, pack warm clothing as it gets colder than you might think, even if it's hot during the day.

Travel responsibly

always followleave no tracesPractices when visiting the parks, packing whatever you take with you and leaving whatever you find behind. Remember that the landscape extends beyond the park's boundaries, so treat all cultural sites inside and outside the park with respect. This includes artifacts, sites, structures, landscapes, and any objects that are significant to a culture or community. Do not touch the cases as they are fragile.

Aztec Ruins National Monument Foto © Grian12/Dreamstime.

beyond the limit

  • Aztec ruins: This smaller — often overlooked — national park unit protects a large, 900-year-old Pueblo home that was just one of much larger communities of sites inhabited by ancestral Pueblos after migrating north from Chaco Canyon. Pick up a self-guided tour package from the visitor center and see the museum before or after your tour. The unmissable feature of this park is the large reconstructed kiva, a semi-subterranean structure over 12 meters in diameter. It's the oldest and largest reconstructed structure of its kind - you won't find anything quite like it in Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde.
  • salmon ruins: This excavated pueblo offers another opportunity to see Chacoan architecture. Don't miss the fantastic museum in Bloomfield!
  • Chimney-Rock-Nationaldenkmal: Located just across the Colorado border, this Forest Service-managed monument of more than 100 Puebloan-era archaeological sites is of spiritual importance to two dozen modern-day tribes. The website includes a natural seasonal calendar that marked the equinox for the Ancestral Puebloans.
  • De-Na-Zin(pronounced Deh-nah-zin): Also known as the Bisti Badlands Wilderness Area, this less-visited northwest corner of the Chaco takes its name from the Navajo words for "cranes," and is a testament to the strange rock formations that characterize the landscape of this area. referred to as wild.

Mesa Verde National Park.

© Golasza/Traumzeit

(Video) How to Play Four Corners

Mesa Verde National Park

Located in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906. It was one of the first places in the world to be recognized as aThe cultural heritage of mankindafter UNESCO compiled the list in 1978. The iconic cliff dwellings that draw most attention in Mesa Verde are just a small part of a much larger and diverse cultural landscape that spans the region and is made up of nearly 5,000 archaeological sites, including nearly 600 cliff dwellings. Today there are26 Native American tribesassociated with lands and resources protected within Mesa Verde.

The archaeological record of human occupation in this scenic area spans at least 1,300 years, beginning around AD 1 and peaking between AD 1100 and AD 1200. Mesa Verde was formed after a mass migration from places like Chaco Canyon to about 1100 AD Becomes a cultural center The people who lived here mostly resided on tabletops at that time. As the population increased, residents began moving into large masonry pueblos built in alcoves deep in the sheer-sided gorges. Today, visitors can walk to some of these cliff dwellings in the park.

Where to start

You will need at least two days to fully experience the park. For ticket and fee information,Visit the National Park Service website.

It doesn't seemFar View Visitor Centerwhen you arrive. Then visit theChapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, one of the oldest museums in the national park system, with an informative chronology of ancestral Pueblo culture, well worth a visit.

Keep in mind that cell service can be very limited and temperatures can get very hot in the height of summer, even at higher elevations.


The two main sections of Mesa Verde includeChapin table(with Cliff Palace, Square Tree House, Balcony House and other structures) andWetherill Mesa(Contendo Long House, Step House und Mug House).

  • rock palace: The Cliff Palace is North America's largest cliff pueblo with 23 kivas and 217 rooms that once housed around 250 people. Tickets are required to visit.
  • house balcony: Balcony House was a medium-sized 38-room villa with two kivas and probably housed up to 30 people. Tickets are required to visit. Please note that visitors must climb a 32-foot ladder, some shorter stairs, and crawl through a 12-foot tunnel to access the residence.
  • long house: This is the second largest bluff residence in the park and is located in Wetherill Mesa. Tickets are required to visit.
  • Tannenbaumhaus: Due to ongoing safety concerns related to rockfalls, the park's third largest cliff dwelling will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Viewpoints near the museum offer great views of the clifftop residence.
  • Flag: If you're short on time or just want a taste of what Mesa Verde has to offer, stop at the various lookout points along the park's three main loops. Drive slowly and you are likely to encounter mule deer along the way.
  • view path: Many people skip this trail and go straight to the cliff dwellings, but this somewhat strenuous 2.2-mile hike takes you to the highest point of Mesa Verde and offers great views of the Montezuma and Mancos valleys beyond the park.
  • Trilha Petroglyph Point: This adventurous 2.4 mile trail offers great views of the Spruce and Navajo Canyons and takes you past a large petroglyph tablet.
  • Travel back in time in one of theBadger House Community Trail(2.25 miles, gravel and paved) or theFar View Sites Complex Trail(less than a mile, unpaved) to explore some of the pit houses and other mesa penthouses.

Tourists admire the Square Tower House, Mesa Verde National Park © Donyanedomam | Dreamstime.com

Tips for visiting

plan ahead

Be sure to register online for a prior to your arrivalranger guidancefrom Cliff Palace or Balcony House. If you can, join the sunrise or sunset tour and also schedule a guided tour to one of the inland cliff-top settlements. Keep in mind that some of the land walks can be tiring; Therefore, choose an option that suits your needs and abilities.

stay overnight

There is a hotel in the park:Pousada-Fernansicht, which can book up quickly in high season, so plan ahead. Alternatively, reserve a spot at the beautiful Morefield Campground near the park entrance and take advantage of the free nightly campfire programs hosted by the valet.


Visit this park in spring or fall to enjoy the best weather and avoid the summer heat. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the desert sun. Bring warm clothes as it gets colder than you might think in the desert at night.

Travel responsibly

always followleave no tracesPractices when visiting the parks, packing whatever you take with you and leaving whatever you find behind. Remember that the landscape extends beyond the park's boundaries, so treat all cultural sites inside and outside the park with respect. This includes artifacts, sites, structures, landscapes, and any objects that are significant to a culture or community. Do not touch the cases as they are fragile.

#{image description}

(Video) Trapped in the volcano: How the cruise of a lifetime turned into a deadly nightmare | Four Corners

Hovenweep-Nationaldenkmal Zrffoto | Dreamstime.com

beyond the limit

  • Canyons of the Ancients National Monument: This monument contains the highest known density of archaeological sites in the United States. Don't miss the Visitor Center and Museum, where you can learn more about the Pueblo ancestors and other Native American cultures in the Four Corners region. Here you can discover two archaeological sites from the 12th century, the Pueblos Escalante and Dominguez, which were once home to the ancient Pueblo peoples.
  • Hovenweep-Nationaldenkmal: This site in southeast Utah shows evidence of ancient Pueblo people and cultures dating back to 1200 AD. to 1300 AD Puebloans built a series of intricate, multi-story towers overlooking the canyons and barren desert landscape, demonstrating a close connection between civilizations at nearby locations such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. Hovenweep is also home to some of the finest surviving examples of handcrafted stonework from this period. The most prominent example isSchloss Hovenweep, which has a solar calendar marking the beginning of each solstice. Lead toOrbit of the square tower, and spend the night gazing at the stars in this remote controlDark Sky International Park.
  • Ute Mountain Tribal Park: Take a guided tour led by a Ute tribesman through this undeveloped Puebloan ancestral cultural site and explore rock art, cliff dwellings and surface sites such as pits and pueblos and cliff dwellings. Your tour will be on dirt roads and stairs, so prepare accordingly.

Spinnenfelsen im Chelly Canyon National Monument, Arizona. Photo © Vladone/iStockphoto.


One of the Southwest's most fascinating national monuments, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "deh SHAY," derived from the Navajo word tseyi, meaning "between the canyons" or "among the rocks") lies in the heart of the Navajo Nation, in the Northeast Arizona's. With its spectacular sheer-walled canyons and numerous ancient Pueblo dwellings nestled at the foot of towering cliffs or perched in shallow caves, this National Monument offers breathtaking views like a smaller Grand Canyon and has a rich cultural history spanning over 4,000 years.

The memorial was erected in 1931 and unlike almost every other entity in the national park system, the US government does not own the land within the park boundaries. The park is managed jointly byNavajo-Nationand the parking service. Members of the Navajo community continue to live in the canyon, raising crops, herding sheep, and cultivating peach orchards.

Canyon de Chelly was where the Navajo made their last stand against Kit Carson, a US Army colonel who led a command against the Navajo in 1864. The confrontation ended in the largest Native American surrender in history and led to theNavajos Longer Gone, where an estimated 8,000 people were captured and forced to migrate nearly 400 miles to the Bosque Redondo Reservation near Ft. Sumner in present-day New Mexico. Eventually, the 1868 Treaty of Bosque Redondo allowed the Navajo to return to their homeland.

Where to start

There areno entrynecessary to visit the park. Start your visit atWelcome Center. Keep in mind that the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Saving Time in the mountains while the rest of the state of Arizona does not. As such, March through November hours are the same as Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.


Canyon de Chelly consists of two scenic hikes with different perspectives, a self-guided canyon hike to visit the ruined White House, Welcome Center and campground. Visiting other locations in the park requires a backcountry permit and a Navajo guide.

  • White House Trail: The only public trail in the park, this 2-mile (3.2 km) self-guided loop trail takes you from the White House Lookout at the rim of the gorge to an 1100 CE Pueblo cliff dwelling called the White House Ruin, which once housed over 60 rooms. It takes its name from a white plastered portion of the pueblo wall at the top of the residence.
  • South Rim Drive: Some of the notable viewpoints on this 22-mile journey include Junction Overlook, White House Overlook, and Spider Rock Overlook. Don't miss Spider Rock, an extraordinarily slender sandstone tower that rises 230 meters above the canyon floor and is sacred to the Navajo people.
  • North-Rim-Drive: Check out the Ledge Ruin Overlook, Antelope House Overlook (named for his colorful 19th-century Navajo paintings of antelopes), and Mummy Cave Overlook (an inhabited cave dating back to 300 AD in the memorial) at.

White House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly Nationaldenkmal

West Honeycutt

Tips for visiting

plan ahead

A Guide to the Four Corners (1)

travel planning


Experience why these national parks are so special. Our expert guides, guest speakers and experienced NPCA staff share their unique insights to help you plan...

See more >

(Video) Four Corners Music Game: Instrument Identification Version | Classroom Brain Break

Access to the canyon is very limited, so a visit to Canyon de Chelly National Monument would not be complete without a canyon tour led by a Navajo guide. Reserve your spot with one of the National Park Servicesregistered tour operatorsin advance to guarantee a place. Tours are conducted by vehicle, horseback or on foot. This unique experience gives you the opportunity to hear first-hand stories about life in the canyon and the importance of this inimitable place to the Navajo.

Don't forget a high-resolution camera for photos of the canyon views, best seen in the morning light. Be sure to bring a hat and plenty of water as temperatures soar in the summer months.

stay overnight

ÖThunderbird-Lodgein the gateway community of Chinle has rooms available all year round, with additional accommodation nearby. The lodge is owned and operated by Navajo.

ÖCottonwood-CampIt is managed by the Navajo Department of Parks and Recreation. Book your spot at the campsite well in advance, especially in the high season from April to October.


Visit this park in spring or fall to enjoy the best weather and avoid the summer heat. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the desert sun. Bring warm clothes as it gets colder than you might think in the desert at night.

Travel responsibly

always followleave no tracesPractices when visiting the parks. Canyon de Chelly is still home to several families. Treat all cultural sites inside and outside the park with respect. Do not touch the cases as they are fragile.

Navajo-Nationaldenkmal Kushnirov Avraham | dreamtime.com

beyond the limit

  • Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site: Located about 40 miles south of Canyon de Chelly, this is the Navajo Nation's oldest trading post and a great place to shop for carpets, decorative pottery, arts and crafts.
  • Navajo-Nationaldenkmal: Less than 100 miles (just over 1.5 hour drive) northwest of Canyon de Chelly, this monument features some well-preserved Pueblo cliff dwellings.
  • Window Rock Tribal Park und Veterans Memorial: Known for its natural sandstone archway, the site commemorates the Navajo who served in the US military, including the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II. This monument is located on the Arizona-New Mexico border, between Canyon de Chelly and Albuquerque. Admission is free.
  • Stammespark Monument Valley: This stunning tribal park is located on the Arizona-Utah border. The park, often a western filming location, is accessed via the 17-mile Valley Drive, which winds through high sandstone hills.


Preserve our parks

Make a tax-deductible donation today to help build a brighter future for our national parks and the millions of Americans who enjoy them.

(Video) Is Four Corners the best map? | Stardew Valley 1.4 Tips and Tricks



1. Best Way to Road Trip the Four Corners States & Grand Circle
(Geography King)
2. The Four Corners Classroom Strategy
(Educational Partners International)
3. Rower gravel do 4000zł? Niemożliwe - im się udało. Marin Four Corners
4. Divers reveal extraordinary behind-the-scenes details of Thailand cave rescue | Four Corners
(ABC News In-depth)
5. TAF City Update The Gambia's First Smart City Part 2 | Mustapha Njie
(Nice Gambia)
6. Four Corners Rule: What exactly is the FOUR CORNERS RULES = Contract Law
(James C Lovett)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Horacio Brakus JD

Last Updated: 03/07/2023

Views: 5933

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Horacio Brakus JD

Birthday: 1999-08-21

Address: Apt. 524 43384 Minnie Prairie, South Edda, MA 62804

Phone: +5931039998219

Job: Sales Strategist

Hobby: Sculling, Kitesurfing, Orienteering, Painting, Computer programming, Creative writing, Scuba diving

Introduction: My name is Horacio Brakus JD, I am a lively, splendid, jolly, vivacious, vast, cheerful, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.