The Southwest area of the United States is sometimes referred to as the Four Corners. During prehistoric times, these areas were inhabited by a number of Native American cultures. Although the Anasazi are the most well known, the Mogollon, Hohokam, Sinagua and Salado also occupied various parts of the Southwest. Today, many of their ruins have been either restored or preserved. Taking a camping tour of the Four Corners is an excellent way to travel back in time, and experience this region as it was possibly experienced in the prehistoric era.
Trip Itinerary and Planning
The trip begins in Colorado, goes south to New Mexico, west to Arizona and North to Utah. If you are arriving in Colorado from a sea level location, spending a night in Denver will help you adjust to the altitude. There is an REI Store in downtown Denver, where you can purchase camping necessities such as water purifiers, sunscreen, bug spray and camping food.
Mesa Verde Park Colorado
Mesa Verde Park was once home to the Ancestral Puebloans, a cliff dwelling tribe who inhabited the area for over 700 years. Be sure to visit the Cliff Palace, which is the park's largest dwelling. Campers can stay at the Morefield Campground.
6263 Morefield Vlg Mancos
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81328
Chaco Culture National Park New Mexico
Between 900 and A.D. 1130, Chaco Canyon was a major dwelling area for the New Mexico Anasazi. The Chaco tribes constructed enormous stone buildings, which contained multiple stories and hundreds of rooms. Many of these buildings had specific solar, lunar and cardinal orientations. Camping is available at the Gallo Campgrounds.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Nageezi, New Mexico 87037
(505) 786-7014 ext. 221
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
For many, Arizona is associated with Grand Canyon National Park. However, no matter how many pictures you have seen, nothing compares with seeing the canyon in person. It is truly overwhelming. The Grand Canyon was once home to the Ancestral Puebloans. The steep-sided narrow gorge of the canyon was created by the Colorado River. The Mather, located in the South Rim, is the most popular campground.
Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023
Although a visit to another national park may seem anti-climatic after visiting the Grand Canyon, Canyonlands National Park has some interesting features. The Shay Canyon Petroglyph Trail has some unique petroglyphs, which are rock drawings made by ancient Native American cultures. The park has two developed campgrounds.
Squat Flat Campgrounds
Canyonlands National Park
2282 SW Resource Blvd.
Moab, Utah 84532