Around 1100 A.D. ancient peoples embarked on an ambitious building project along the Animas River in northwestern New Mexico. Work gangs excavated, filled, and leveled more than two and a half acres of land. Masons laid out sandstone blocks in intricate patterns to form massive stone walls. Wood-workers cut and carried heavy log beams from mountain forests tens of miles away. In less than three decades they built a monumental great house three-stories high, longer than a football field, with perhaps 500-rooms including a ceremonial great kiva; over 41-feet in diameter.
A short trail winds through this massive site offering a surprisingly intimate experience. Along the way visitors discover roofs built 880 years ago, original plaster walls, a reed mat left by the inhabitants, intriguing -T- shaped doorways, provocative north-facing corner doors, and more. The trail culminates with the reconstructed great kiva, a building that inherently inspires contemplation, wonder, and an ancient sense of sacredness.