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Canyons of the Ancients

a person standing in front of a canyon

Lowry Pueblo: Where the Deities Dance

One of the most archaeologically dense site locations in the United States can be found in southwestern Colorado. The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument spans some 174,000 acres and boasts an estimated 30,000 archaeological sites. More than 8,300 of these sites demonstrate past life in the form of kivas, shrines, cliff dwellings, and petroglyphs. The area has been used by people, including the Ancestral Puebloans, for at least 10,000 years.

Despite the abundance of archaeological sites to explore, there are a few standouts that any visitor to the area should not miss.

Among these significant sites is the Lowry Pueblo. It is the only archaeological site within the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument that has been stabilized for visitors. Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours recommends this as a part of your Canyons of the Ancients Tour for its ease of access, awe-inspiring history, and beautiful views. Lowry Pueblo is a must-see destination for families and anyone interested in experiencing historic culture first-hand.

Accessible by foot via a gravel walking trail, Lowry Pueblo is a partially excavated Ancestral Puebloan site that allows you to enter the structure and walk in the paths of history. Our knowledgeable guides enhance the experience with their insight and can answer your questions as you explore the pueblo.

The Lowry Pueblo is estimated to have been built in the 11th century on top of abandoned pithouses. It contains 40 rooms and eight kivas and is thought to have housed up to 100 people at its peak. The pueblo was inhabited until the 13th century.

Two special features await those who visit Lowry.

One of our favorites is the Great Kiva. Located outside of the village, the Great Kiva is nearly 50 feet in diameter. The floor of the kiva features two large, low-stone structures that resemble figures in petroglyphs. It has been theorized that these figures may represent the Winter People and Summer People, which is where the “dancing deities” moniker is derived from. Curious to know more? Your Durango Rivertrippers tour guide will be happy to explain the significance of the Great Kiva and its purpose.

The second feature we encourage visitors to see is the “painted” kiva. This kiva is inside the pueblo. Visitors may enter to view from the ground floor. The kiva once contained a painted mural that was uncovered by archeologists. Though the mural has been removed, a fragment is on display at the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum.

Why tour heritage sites with Durango Rivertrippers? We can enrich your experience by showcasing crucial archaeological spots, pointing out interesting details – like the curious “T” shaped doors at Lowry – and answering your questions. Our love for the land and its history is apparent in the care taken on our tours. Discover the beauty and mystery of the Canyons of the Ancients with Durango Rivertrippers and Adventure Tours.

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