The Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway lets you explore the Four Corners area of Utah. An area where long-vanished Native Americans once made their home. And left their mark.
The Four Corners area includes parts of four states … Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. See some of the most spectacular natural bridges in the world.
Archaeological remnants of long-extinct cultures. Red rock natural monuments. And even evidence that dinosaurs once roamed this wilderness.
Drive past the massive red rock walls of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. And … in the distance … get a glimpse of one of the most extraordinary recreational playgrounds in the world ... Lake Powell . Created by the controversial damming of the Colorado River, it delights almost three million fun-seekers each year.
While traveling the Trail of The Ancients National Scenic Byway, you can see the largest display of natural bridges in the world ... at Natural Bridges National Monument.
At the town of Blanding, you can visit Edge of the Cedars State Park. It holds a wonderful collection of Ancestral Anasazi pottery. And explore an authentic Puebloan village behind the museum.
Blanding is also the home of the Blanding Dinosaur Museum.
US-191 runs south from Blanding to the pioneer-era town of Bluff. Snuggled up against the San Juan River, the town was founded by the Hole-In-The-Rock pioneers … a hardy group of Mormon settlers.
Head southeast from Bluff towards the town of Aneth. Nearby, you’ll be able to visit Hovenweep National Monument. Hovenweep protects six prehistoric clusters of Native American ruins.
Established in 1923, the villages date from the Pueblo period of the mid 13th century. They are spread over a 20-mile area along the Utah-Colorado border.
At the very south end of the byway, experience the grandeur of
Monument Valley . One you’ve likely seen many times whether you know it or not. Monument Valley has set the scene for more Western movies than any other locale. Quiet, empty, overpowering space and beauty.
More properly known as Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, many people’s first view of this area was in a John Wayne/John Ford movie. An awesome background for a western.
The byway follows state route 163 from Blanding to Bluff. SR-95 leads south from Blanding to Natural Bridges National Monument. And it heads north from Mexican Hat on SR-261 back to SR-95.
It takes you north on SR-163 from Monument Valley to Bluff. Along US-191 between Blanding and Bluff. On SR-262 east to the Colorado border. And also east from Bluff on SR-262 to the Colorado border.
The Trail of The Ancients National Scenic Byway covers more than 530 miles (853 km). Plan on at least one full day. I recommend longer. Take your time and savor the sights. And … along much of the route … the silence.