National Park Service

Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN)

Hovenweep National Monument

Park Species Lists
Park Biophysical Description (PDF)
NPS Logo Hovenweep NM Website
Hovenweep National Monument map
Hovenweep National Monument map. Click for official park map.
Tower Point, Hovenweep NM. Photo by Brian Forist.
Tower Point, Hovenweep National Monument

Size: 318 hectares
Elevation range: 1,585–2,060 meters

Hovenweep National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation in 1923, to preserve "groups of ruins, including prehistoric structures, the majority of which belong to unique types not found in other National Monuments, and show the finest prehistoric masonry in the United States." The monument is best known for protecting a collection of canyon-rim towers and villages that are the best preserved and protected, most visually striking, and most accessible examples of thirteenth-century Ancestral Puebloan architecture within the San Juan River Basin.

The monument comprises six distinct units. Elevation ranges from 1,585 meters (5,200 feet) at the Cajon unit to 2,060 meters (6,760 feet) at the Goodman Point unit. The climate in this high desert is dry, with an average of 305 millimeters (12 inches) of precipitation per year. Temperatures range from winter lows of -10 to 0°F to summer highs averaging 100–105°F, with a mean annual temperature of 52°F. The monument's shrubland types are influenced by precipitation, landscape position, soil depth, and alkalinity/salinity. Woodland associations are established on canyon sides, canyon rims, slopes, and hills. Herbaceous plant communities are a relatively minor component of the monument's vegetation, and riparian vegetation is rare. While permanent water sources are limited, a few springs and seeps in canyonheads produce water year-round.

Trespass livestock, exotic plant species invasion, adjacent land-use impacts, and increasing recreational use are the monument's main natural resource management concerns.

The NCPN monitors climate, land surface phenology, landscape dynamics, springs and seeps, and water quality at Hovenweep National Monument.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster