Monday, July 31, 2017

Yucca House National Monument

This morning Cierra notified us that we still hadn't done Yucca House National Monument.  We asked her is she's watch Hunter, who was still sleeping, while first we took the truck into the Dodge dealership to be looked over for our braking issues with the trailer.

While driving there, we decided to get a little compact rental car from Enterprise.  The first white car we were going to get smelled so much like weed, that the gal from Enterprise took us to a silver Chevy Cruze.  Despite that it only has 18,000 miles on it, I soon discovered that the A/C doesn't work and the back in was cracked from other drivers.  Oh well, at least it's transportation.  Then, I met Scott at the Dodge dealership - and it was so small, that I missed it on the road and went 2 miles farther than I should have.  I got directions from a guy at an antique store and finally found it.  The place was sooo small, that there was nowhere for me to even park but Scott came out just in time and hopped into the car.

Our rental car for the day.
We returned back to the RV in time for Hunter to be awake, the kids eating breakfast and we got ready to leave for Yucca House.  Soon, we were on the way to find Yucca House.  The directions are hilarious. You'd almost be afraid to go since it's on private property, but we decided to give a shot anyway.  Here's a highlight from some of my favorite part:

Take the next dirt road on the right before the farmhouse on the left. (As you make this turn, you will cross a yellow cattle guard and pass a Box Bar Ranch - NO TRESPASSING sign.  The  "No Trespassing" sign does not apply to the county road).

Well, we arrived in good time - it only takes about 15 minutes to get there from Cortez. You really have to watch the signs from the directions as the monument is not marked from the main road.  The streets heading south are alphabetical and the main street have a green sign post while the 1/10 markers are red markers. I've never seen anything quite like it.  We followed the directions, which were amazingly accurate despite how silly they seemed and arrived at the farm with the white house with the red roof.  Off to the left was the sign for Yucca House.I will say that there was one error, or should I say omission from the directions. One #4, there will be a fork on the road and you should veer toward the left.  You'll see the white house with the red roof, but if in doubt, turn left here.

White House with the Red Roof at the end of the drive.
The White House with Red Roof Farm
Right off the road is this sign:
And then you'll see a boardwalk right by this sign, which you follow to a metal gate.
Follow the board walk to the gate.
Then, you'll come to yet another gate and you'll enter through this gate. Remember to close all the gates behind you.
From here just follow the path and Yucca House will be on the left.  There's really not much to see.  It looks like it was erected into the side of a hill.  In the following photos it's just under the tree.

According to the National Park Service on Yucca House, the original name of "Aztec Springs" was given to the site in the late 19th century, and was based on the spring that is still there today.  At that time, archaeologists believed these ancient sites were built by the Aztec people of Mexico.  The name "Yucca House" was selected for the monument because of the Ute Indiana called Sleeping Ute Mountain by a name meaning yucca, for there is an abundance of the yucca plant growing nearby.

Yucca House is one of the largest archaeological sites in southwest Colorado, and acted as an important community center for the Ancestral Puebloan people (Anasazi) from 1150-1300 AD. On July 2, 1919, Henry Van Kleeck deeded 9.6 acres of land,including most of Yucca House to the federal government. Due to it's significance as an excellent example of a valley pueblo, Woodrow Wilson made Yucca House a National Monument by Presidential Proclamation on December 19,1919 (

There is a visitors guide you can use when touring Yucca House.  Also, be aware that are no services available at Yucca House as this is on private property.
Cierra was a lot freaked out by the large amount of big grasshoppers, ants and bees, so we only stayed a few minutes so she could get back to the car.  She's not that adventuresome.  This hike was so easy that we also did it in flip flops and sandals so no worries there.

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