Unlike most major ancestral Puebloan ruins, Aztec Ruins is exceptionally convenient to visitors: it's within the city limits of Aztec. Aztec Ruins National Monument was designated a World Heritage site in 1987 as part of Chaco Culture World Heritage site because it preserves important Pueblo architectural and engineering achievements. Aztec Ruins was built as a public ceremonial, economic, and political center around 1100 AD and remained occupied by the ancestral Pueblo people until 1300 AD.

Aztec West Trail

Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time through a self-guided tour that is approximately 45 minutes long. Explore a 900-year old ancestral pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms and North America's largest reconstructed great kiva. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar.

Visitor Center and Museum

In the museum, view ancient pottery, stone tools, woven yucca textiles, an original ladder and watch the video "Footprints of the Past" to hear the perspectives of archaeologists and Native American scholars. Shop for books, postcards and traditional crafts at the Visitor Center.

Picnic and Trails

Picnic pavilions are availabel in the shade of cottonwood trees, view a heritage garden, walk the Old Spanish Trail or native plants trail.

Ranger Tours and Talks

During the summer months, there are ranger led talks and tours of the ruins and cultural demonstrations. Periodically there are special events, such as Earth day and Evening of Lights.


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Photos by EMKotyk