(Look closely at this photo and you’ll see the Hovenweep campground with wind breaks placed behind each picnic table within each camp site.)
“Unforgettable, that’s what you are.” You can almost hear Nat King Cole signing as you drive across the vast mesas where once lived thousands of Pueblo People, more commonly known as the Anasizi, to drive the many miles it takes to reach it.
When the traveler finally reaches the campground and continues by foot to the canyon rim, the sites below or across the canyons beckon. The faint of heart, however, view the massive cave dwellings from above and watch hikers make their way below into the canyons.
The wind here is such a constant that wind breaks are needed for campers. A Mormon first reported these impressive sites in southeastern Utah when he was leading an expedition in 1854.
Photographer, William Henry Jackson, in l874 first used the name: Hovenweep, which is the Ute/Paiute for ‘deserted valley.’.
Say the name, Hovenweep, out loud. If you do, it may stay with you. The tall towers, outlines of multi-room pueblos, shaped stones, small cliff dwellings, rock art lie scattered across the landscape and leave little doubt that a huge population once lived in this high desert.
Despite the marginal growing conditions (and the wind, of course, which never seems to stop), the ancient ones raised corn, beans, squash and other crops in small fields and terraces and built little dams for irrigation. Their wisdom of astronomy helped calculate growing seasons.
Like the wind, severe drought came They fled to the Mollogon rim with its forests and better water. Some historians believe that aggressive people arrived. The terrible climate change brought them from the north here to wage war and disaster.
Many Pueblo ancestors believe this is sacred land and that one day they may return to live here again.