Archaeologist-Guided Hiking

Hiking into the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Explore Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Learn to recognize ruin sites and artifacts while hiking through scenic beauty, accompanied by a professional archaeologist.

We provide exclusive archaeologist guided hiking into areas of Canyons of the Ancients Sand Canyon Recreational District which are off limits to the general public. We are the only permit holder that can take you hiking into the Monument lands where you may climb into cliff dwellings to experience the perspective of Ancestral Puebloan ("Anasazi") Indians. See the ancient wood still holding the rock structure at Broken Beam. Climb into Kiva in the Sky for a magnificent view of sacred Sleeping Ute Mountain. Marvel at the myriad of pottery sherds and other artifacts still strewn about the middens.

The full day hike you will enjoy our packed lunch and continue on to Two Raven House, with multiple room remnants and then to the Beach House, with its exquisite masonry and deep sandy alcove. You can sense the people from the past who chose these sites and built these impossible dwellings. The natural beauty surrounding these sites is reason enough to bring your camera and have an experience of a lifetime. You will meet no one on the trails in this area as it is closed to unguided hiking. This is your chance to see ancient structures before natural weathering elements disintegrate them.

Kelly Place, Anasazi stone doorway Kelly Place, Anasazi Kiva In The Sky

Experience the personal touch --with answers to your questions about what has been and what can be learned by studying Puebloan ruins. Questions such as:

  • What is a kiva?

  • Who were the Anasazi and where did they go?

  • Why are they now called Ancestral Puebloans?

  • What are the great mysteries of the prehistoric civilizations?

  • How do archaeologists know where to dig?

Our staff archaeologists can accommodate groups or individuals having most all levels of ability. The archaeologist will provide a detailed narration about the terrain and ruin sites along the trail.


Half-day, $150/up to 4 persons. (about 4 hours, 4 to 5 miles hiking)

Full -day, $235/up to 4 persons. (about 8 hours, 5 to 8 miles, with a packed lunch)

Each additional person:

Add $15 for half-day or $30 for a full day, including the packed lunch.

Canyons of the Ancients was designated a National Monument by President Clinton in 1999. It encompasses over 166,000 acres and has the highest known density of archaeological sites in the nation.

Kelly Place, Graveyard Canyon

Beginning on Kelly Place property, your guide will enter the Canyons of the Ancients Monument via a small red-rock canyon.

The trail leads gently upward along a ridge between two canyons until you reach an upper cliff--the White Rim. You will typically hike from 5,500 feet above sea level to 6,900 feet in two miles.

Several cliff-dwellings built into the White Rim will be visited on your tour. Kelly Place has partnered with the BLM and volunteer groups to stabilize some of these ruins, so that the sites are maintained in their present condition for future generations to enjoy.

Kelly Place, Hike to Kiva In The Sky

If you are taking the full day hike, your guide will find a shady place near the ruins to have lunch. Hikes will return via the same trail to the lodge.

Other hiking routes are possible. Call for more details.

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Advance notice is required for the guided hikes. Hiking in the Monument is not recommended for physically impaired persons. Some climbing over broken rocks and narrow trails should be expected.

We recommend hiking shoes or sneakers for these trips. A large water bottle and a snack for the half day trips is appropriate. We have small back packs available if you do not have hiking gear. You should have sun screen and plenty of water and perhaps additional snacks as needed for the full day hike. A packed lunch is provided for the full day hikes but must be carried.

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