Trail of the Ancients

Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

Trail of the Ancients is the only National Scenic Byway totally dedicated to archaeology and, unique to this byway, the traveler must get out of the car to truly experience everything the byway has to offer.  [Colorado Byways]

The Trail of the Ancients (TotA) includes federal, state, and Navajo highways, county roads, and ancient roads in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Sites along the TotA include Canyons of the Ancients, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Hawkins, Yucca House, Mule Canyon, Aztec Ruins, Butler Wash, and many other cultural sites too numerous to list here.  The area surrounding the TotA contains the greatest concentration of ancestral Puebloan cultural sites north of Mexico.

We have four maps covering different sections of the TotA, cropped, resized, and assembled as the banner image:  Utah and Colorado maps from the FHWAFHWA, a map from Navajo Scenic Byways that includes roads in all four states (right end of the banner), and a map from a Trail of Ancients site including Arizona roads that differs with the Navajo map in Arizona (left end of the banner).  Prehistoric roads is a map of sites and roads in New Mexico with Chaco Canyon as their hub.  Currently, the FHWA National Scenic Byway designation includes roads in Colorado and Utah.

The UT(ah)-CO(lorado) area map is a highway map from unidentified Cedar Mesa on the left (below Natural Bridges National Monument) to Mesa Verde on the right, with Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments in the middle.  The remaining menu entries are maps of some of the archaeological sites along the Trail of the Ancients.

The Scenic Color Country Archaeology menu contains articles and photos of these sites along the TotA along with Nine Mile Canyon and Santa Clara River Reserve that are in Scenic Color Country but not on the Trail of the Ancients.

Note:  the highway numbers on the prehistoric roads map are also prehistoric - corrections are in the Chaco Culture article.