Capulin Volcano National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument is a U. S. National Monument located in northeastern New Mexico that protects and interprets an extinct cinder cone volcano, part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. A paved road spirals around the volcano and visitors can drive up to a parking lot at the rim. Hiking trails circle the rim as well as lead down into the mouth of the volcano; the monument is administered by the National Park Service. The visitor center features exhibits about the volcano and the area's geology and cultural history, offers educational programs about volcanoes. There is a video presentation about the volcano; the name capulin comes from a type of black cherry, Prunus virginiana, native to southern North America. Apollo 16's John Young and Charlie Duke did some of their geologic training here in May 1971. William R. Muehlberger was one of the geology instructors. From the National Park Service: Capulin Volcano National Monument is a well-preserved young, symmetrical cinder cone, it rises steeply from the surrounding grassland plains to an elevation of 8,182 feet above sea level.
The irregular rim of the crater is about a mile in the crater about 400 feet deep. Capulin Volcano is one of the outstanding landmarks located in the northeast corner of New Mexico, where the rolling grasslands meet the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Capulin Volcano's highest point provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the volcanic field, distant snow-capped mountains, portions of five states. Capulin Volcano offers visitors excellent opportunities for observing and understanding volcanic formation; the large volcanic field surrounding the monument contains at least 100 recognizable volcanoes, aids visitors in gaining insights into 10 million years of the geological history of northern New Mexico. According to the National Park Service:On January 16, 1891, Capulin Mountain was …withdrawn from settlement, entry or other disposition under any of the public land laws, until such time as Congress may see fit to take action touching the same or until otherwise ordered by competent authority… On August 9, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson set Capulin aside as a U.
S. National Monument by Presidential Proclamation No. 1340, to preserve "…a striking example of recent extinct volcanoes … which …is of great scientific and geologic interest…" Public Law 87-635, 87th Congress, S.2973, September 5, 1962, amended the proclamation to "…preserve the scenic and scientific integrity of Capulin Mountain National Monument…" because of the significance of Capulin Volcano. On December 31, 1987, Congress changed the Monument's name from Capulin Mountain National Monument to Capulin Volcano National Monument by Public Law 100-225. Sierra Grande to the southeast Johnson Mesa to the northwest Eastern New Mexico Black Mesa to the northeast nps.gov: official Capulin Volcano National Monument website — NPS - National Park Service. Sangres.com: Information and photos NPS — "Geology Fieldnotes: Capulin Volcano National Monument"
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, the natural hazards that threaten it; the organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility; the USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS employs 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia; the USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, Menlo Park, California. The current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is "science for a changing world." The agency's previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, was "Earth Science in the Public Service." Since 2012, the USGS science focus is directed at six topical "Mission Areas", namely Climate and Land Use Change, Core Science Systems, Ecosystems and Minerals and Environmental Health, Natural Hazards, Water.
In December 2012, the USGS split the Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area resulting in seven topical Mission Areas, with the two new areas being: Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health. Administratively, it is divided into six Regional Units. Other specific programs include: Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System; the USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research, it conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards. USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast.
As of 2005, the agency is working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System by improving the instrumentation monitoring the 169 volcanoes in U. S. territory and by establishing methods for measuring the relative threats posed at each site. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time; the USGS collaborates with Canadian and Mexican government scientists, along with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to produce the North American Environmental Atlas, used to depict and track environmental issues for a continental perspective. The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center implements partner-driven science to improve understanding of past and present land use change, develops relevant climate and land use forecasts, identifies lands and communities that are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of change from the local to global scale.
Since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. In collaboration with Stanford University, the USGS operates the USGS-Stanford Ion Microprobe Laboratory, a world-class analytical facility for U--Pb geochronology and trace element analyses of minerals and other earth materials. USGS operates a number of water related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program and National Water-Quality Assessment Program. USGS Water data is publicly available from their National Water Information System database; the USGS operates the National Wildlife Health Center, whose mission is "to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues." It is the agency responsible for surveillance of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the United States.
The USGS runs 17 biological research centers in the United States, including the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The USGS is investigating collaboration with the social networking site Twitter to allow for more rapid construction of ShakeMaps; the USGS produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale, quadrangle, a non-metric scale unique to the United States. Each of these maps covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart. Nearly 57,000 individual maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U. S. territories, areas of Alaska near Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay. The area covered by each map varies with the latitude of its represented location due to convergence of the meridians. At lower latitudes, near 30° north, a 7.5-minute quadrangle contains an area of about 64 square miles.
At 49° north latitude, 49 square miles are contained within a quadrangle of that size. As a unique non-metric map scale, the 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for pl
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas in the United States. Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings built in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.
Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130. Comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the arid and sparsely populated Four Corners region, the Chacoan cultural sites are fragile – concerns of erosion caused by tourists have led to the closure of Fajada Butte to the public; the sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people, who maintain oral accounts of their historical migration from Chaco and their spiritual relationship to the land. Though park preservation efforts can conflict with native religious beliefs, tribal representatives work with the National Park Service to share their knowledge and respect the heritage of the Chacoan culture; the park is on the Trails of one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways. Chaco Canyon lies within the San Juan Basin, atop the vast Colorado Plateau, surrounded by the Chuska Mountains to the west, the San Juan Mountains to the north, the San Pedro Mountains to the east.
Ancient Chacoans drew upon dense forests of oak, piñon, ponderosa pine, juniper to obtain timber and other resources. The canyon itself, located within lowlands circumscribed by dune fields and mountains, is aligned along a northwest-to-southeast axis and is rimmed by flat massifs known as mesas. Large gaps between the southwestern cliff faces—side canyons known as rincons—were critical in funneling rain-bearing storms into the canyon and boosting local precipitation levels; the principal Chacoan complexes, such as Pueblo Bonito, Nuevo Alto, Kin Kletso, have elevations of 6,200 to 6,440 feet. The alluvial canyon floor slopes downward to the northwest at a gentle grade of 30 feet per mile; the canyon's main aquifers were too deep to be of use to ancient Chacoans: only several smaller and shallower sources supported the small springs that sustained them. Today, aside from occasional storm runoff coursing through arroyos, substantial surface water—springs, wells—is nonexistent. After the Pangaean supercontinent sundered during the Cretaceous period, the region became part of a shifting transition zone between a shallow inland sea—the Western Interior Seaway—and a band of plains and low hills to the west.
A sandy and swampy coastline oscillated east and west, alternately submerging and uncovering the area atop the present Colorado Plateau that Chaco Canyon now occupies. The Chaco Wash flowed across the upper strata of what is now the 400-foot Chacra Mesa, cutting into it and gouging out a broad canyon over the course of millions of years; the mesa comprises sandstone and shale formations dating from the Late Cretaceous, which are of the Mesa Verde formation. The canyon bottomlands were further eroded; the canyon and mesa lie within the "Chaco Core"—which is distinct from the wider Chaco Plateau, a flat region of grassland with infrequent stands of timber. As the Continental Divide is only 15.5 miles east of the canyon, geological characteristics and different patterns of drainage differentiate these two regions both from each other and from the nearby Chaco Slope, the Gobernador Slope, the Chuska Valley. An arid region of high xeric scrubland and desert steppe, the canyon and wider basin average 8 inches of rainfall annually.
Chaco Canyon lies on the leeward side of extensive mountain ranges to the south and west, resulting in a rainshadow effect that fosters the prevailing lack of moisture in the region. The region sees four distinct seasons. Rainfall is most between July and September, while May and June are the driest months. Orographic precipitation, which results from moisture wrung out of storm systems ascending the mountain ranges around Chaco Canyon, is responsible for most of the summer and winter precipitation, rainfall increases with higher elevation. Occasional aberrant northward excursions of the intertropical convergence zone may boost precipitation in some years. Chaco endures remarkable climatic extremes: temperatures range between −38 to 102 °F, may swing 60 °F in a single day; the region averages fewer than 150 frost-free days per year, the local climate swings wildly from years of plentiful rainfall to prolonged drought. The heavy influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation contributes to the canyon's fickle climate.
Chacoan flora typifies that of North American high deserts: sagebrush and several species of cactus are intersper
Animas River is a 126-mile-long river in the western United States, a tributary of the San Juan River, part of the Colorado River System. The Animas-La Plata Water Project was completed in 2015; the project pumps water over a low pass to fill a reservoir, Lake Nighthorse, in Ridges Basin to satisfy Southern Ute tribal water rights claims associated with the Colorado Ute Settlement Act amendments of 2000. Spanish explorer Juan Maria de Rivera of Santa Fe recorded the name "Rio de las Animas" in 1765. One theory is that the full name of the river was once "Rio de las Animas Perdidas", although this idea may indicate confusion with the Purgatoire River of southeastern Colorado; the Animas River rises high in San Juan Mountains of Colorado at the confluence of the West and North forks at the ghost town of Animas Forks and flows south past the ghost towns of Eureka and Howardsville. At Silverton, the river flows into the Animas Canyon; the Durango and Silverton Narrow gauge railroad follows the river through the canyon to Durango.
From Durango the river flows south into New Mexico through the town of Aztec to its confluence with the San Juan River at Farmington. The only major tributary of the Animas River is the Florida River which confluences just north of the Colorado–New Mexico border; the ancestral Puebloan site of Aztec Ruins National Monument is situated along the river in the present day town of Aztec and for much of its course the river flows through native Ute and Navajo lands. Numerous irrigation ditches serve the surrounding farmland along the river; the Durango Pumping Plant, completed in 2011, as part of the Animas-La Plata Water Project, draws an average annual of 57,100 acre-feet from the river, for storage in Lake Nighthorse. The Animas serves as habitat to resident and migratory bald eagles which arrive in the winter months to take advantage of the ice-free river. In August 2015, the La Plata County Sheriff's Office was forced to close the river to the public after a crew working for the EPA released 3 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas.
The plug was accidentally removed while investigating a leak at the abandoned Gold King Mine. The mine was last active in the 1920s, but it had been leaking toxic water at a rate of 50 to 250 gallons a minute for years; the spill contained the toxic metals arsenic and lead, as well as the metals aluminum and copper. There may be other toxic heavy metals in the plume; the spill changed the color of the river to orange, the spill was described as "devastating" by Kim Stevens, the director of Environment Colorado, who said that businesses who rely on the river for profit might have to close down. The river's fish population might be at risk due to the toxic waste that now runs through the river. In February 2016, the Associated Press reported that the spill "dumped 880,000 pounds of metals" into the Animas River, that "most of the metals settled into the riverbed." The metals considered are "cadmium, lead, nickel and others." The Animas river is a major white water rafting attraction accounting for 8.9% of Colorado's commercial rafting market while annually generating 45,411 commercial user days and direct expenditures of $5,207,033.
The Animas is a freestone fishery well populated with rainbow, Colorado River cutthroat, brook trout. It is considered a gold medal fishery above Rivera Bridge Crossing in Colorado. Recreational fishing with artificial lures and flies on the Animas is available year-round due to moderate winter weather. Insect hatches of aquatic diptera and mayflies occur in the spring months. In late spring and through fall the Animas sees caddisfly and mayfly hatches as well as terrestrials such as grasshoppers. Animas trout average 12 to 16 inches. Larger trout in the 17 to 22 inches are caught by anglers. Brown trout. List of rivers of Colorado List of rivers of New Mexico List of tributaries of the Colorado River Animas-La Plata Water Project Lake Nighthorse Thompson, Jonathan.. "When our river turned orange". Desborough, G. A. and D. B. Yager.. Acid-neutralizing potential of igneous bedrocks in the Animas River headwaters, San Juan County, Colorado. Reston, VA: U. S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey.
Nash, T.. Geochemical investigations and interim recommendations for priority abandoned mine sites, BLM lands, upper Animas River watershed, San Juan County, Colorado. Reston, VA: U. S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey. Yager, D. B. et al.. Ferricrete and bog iron occurrences with selected sedge bogs and active iron bogs and springs in the upper Animas River watershed, San Juan County, Colorado. Denver: U. S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey. River Reach Foundation City of Durango-Animas River
World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U. S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, territorial affairs, insular areas of the United States. About 75% of federal public land is managed by the department, with most of the remainder managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service; the department is administered by the United States Secretary of the Interior, a member of the Cabinet of the President. The current Secretary is David Bernhardt, who serves in an acting capacity, concurrently serves in the Department as Deputy Secretary; the Inspector General position is vacant, with Mary Kendall serving as acting Inspector General. Despite its name, the Department of the Interior has a different role from that of the interior ministries of other nations, which are responsible for police matters and internal security.
In the United States, national security and immigration functions are performed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice secondarily. The Department of the Interior has been humorously called "The Department of Everything Else" because of its broad range of responsibilities. A department for domestic concern was first considered by the 1st United States Congress in 1789, but those duties were placed in the Department of State; the idea of a separate domestic department continued to percolate for a half-century and was supported by Presidents from James Madison to James Polk. The 1846–48 Mexican–American War gave the proposal new steam as the responsibilities of the federal government grew. Polk's Secretary of the Treasury, Robert J. Walker, became a vocal champion of creating the new department. In 1849, Walker stated in his annual report that several federal offices were placed in departments with which they had little to do, he noted that the General Land Office had little to do with the Treasury and highlighted the Indian Affairs office, part of the Department of War, the Patent Office, part of the Department of State.
Walker argued that these and other bureaus should be brought together in a new Department of the Interior. A bill authorizing its creation of the department passed the House of Representatives on February 15, 1849, spent just over two weeks in the Senate; the department was established on March 3, 1849, the eve of President Zachary Taylor's inauguration, when the Senate voted 31 to 25 to create the department. Its passage was delayed by Democrats in Congress who were reluctant to create more patronage posts for the incoming Whig administration to fill; the first Secretary of the Interior was Thomas Ewing. Many of the domestic concerns the department dealt with were transferred to other departments. For example, the Department of Interior was responsible for water pollution control prior to the creation of the EPA. Other agencies became separate departments, such as the Bureau of Agriculture, which became the Department of Agriculture; however and natural resource management, American Indian affairs, wildlife conservation, territorial affairs remain the responsibilities of the Department of the Interior.
As of mid-2004, the department managed 507 million acres of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the United States. It manages 476 dams and 348 reservoirs through the Bureau of Reclamation, 410 national parks, seashore sites, etc. through the National Park Service, 544 national wildlife refuges through the Fish and Wildlife Service. Within the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs handles some federal relations with Native Americans, while others are handled by the Office of Special Trustee; the current acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs is Lawrence S. Roberts, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin; the department has been the subject of disputes over proper accounting for Native American Trusts set up to track the income and distribution of monies that are generated by the Trust and specific Native American lands, which the government leases for fees to companies that extract oil, timber and other resources. Several cases have sought an accounting of such funds from departments within the Interior and Treasury, in what has been a 15-year-old lawsuit.
Some Native American nations have sued the government over water-rights issues and their treaties with the US. In 2010 Congress passed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, which provided $3.4 billion for the settlement of the Cobell v. Salazar class-action trust case and four Native American water rights cases; the $3.4 billion will be placed in a still-to-be-selected bank and $1.4 billion will go to individuals in the form of checks ranging from $500 to $1,500. A small group, such as members of the Osage tribe who benefit from huge Oklahoma oil revenues, will get far more, based on a formula incorporating their 10 highest years of income between 1985 and 2009; as important, $2 billion will be used to buy trust land from Native American owners at fair market prices, with the government returning the land to tribes. Nobody can be forced to sell. Assistant Secretary for Policy and Budget Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance Office of International Affairs Office of Native Hawaiian Relations Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment Office of Policy Analysis National Invasive Species Council Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance and Acquisiti
Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway (New Mexico)
The Trail of the Ancients is a New Mexico Scenic Byway to prehistoric archaeological and geological sites of northwestern New Mexico. It provides insight into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans and the Navajo and Apache peoples. Geological features include canyons, volcanic rock features, sandstone buttes. Several of the sites are scenic and wilderness areas with recreational opportunities; the Trail of the Ancients captures the archaeological evidence of hunter and gatherers who lived in the area since 10,000 B. C. or earlier, in the northwestern portion of the state. The Ancient Puebloans that lived in the area between about 850 and 1250 A. D. are the ancestors of the modern Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblo tribes. Navajos, from the Athabascan tribal areas in northwestern Canada, migrated into the area about 500 years ago. Other Native Americans include the Utes and Apaches. Native peoples left evidence of their lives in ruins of agricultural communities, broken pieces of pottery, tools and petroglyphs.
The landscape includes large sandstone formations, desolate deserts, interesting views, geologic formations. A key site on the byway are the ruins at Chaco Canyon, the "ceremonial center" for puebloan people at that and outlying pueblos between 850 and 1250 A. D. Other key sites are El Malpais National Monument. A great portion of the land in northwestern New Mexico belongs to the Navajo Nation; the route traverses multiple roads, including U. S. Route 64, U. S. Route 550, NM 57, NM 122 and other state and Navajo Nation roads. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited in the canyon between 850 and 1250 A. D. is the center and starting point for the byway. It is located in a remote location on a rugged road. To reach the Chaco Culture site, follow National Park Service signs from U. S. Route 550, turning first onto County Road 7900. There are a visitor center, six monumental sites, a trail to other sites. On NM 57 drive south of the park to NM 371 and drive south to Crownpoint, known for its monthly auction of Navajo rugs.
Continue south on NM 371 to Navajo Road 48. Turn right on McKinley County Road 19 and continue on the road to the Casamero Pueblo, an outlier of the Chacoan site between about 1050 and 1100. Travel south on McKinley County Road 19 to NM 122, turn left and travel the road to Grants, where there is the New Mexico Mining Museum. Continue on NM 122 to NM 117 and drive south to the El Malpais National Monument, made about 3,000 years ago by lava flows. Return to Grants and from NM 122, take NM 53 south to the Ice Cave and Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, where there is the "Chain of Craters" of cinder cones. Drive west on NM 53 to El Morro National Monument, a large butte that appears "like a huge ocean liner" on the horizon. Continuing west on NM 53, the Zuni Pueblo with six original sites was the goal of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in his search for the "Seven Cities of Gold." Gallup is located north on NM 602, where there is a mural to the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, Indian crafts for sale, a Visitor's Center, the Rex Mining Museum, the historic El Rancho Hotel & Motel.
Two Grey Hills and Toadlena are two trading posts located north of Gallup in Newcomb on U. S. Route 491. There are about 1,500 Navajo people living near the trading posts, some of whom who sell their woven rugs at the trading posts. Farmington, where two thirds of the surface water in the flows through area rivers, is north on U. S. Route 64. Recreational trails and the Farmington Museum are key sites. Two pueblo ruins at the Aztec Ruins National Monument, an outlier of the Chacoan Canyon site, are near Bloomfield, east of Farmington off of U. S. 64. South of Bloomfield off of NM 371, in the badlands of New Mexico, are the Bisti Wilderness Area, De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, Angel Peak Scenic Areas. Beklabito, a Navajo community, is located west on U. S. 64. The scenery includes red sandstone formations and yellow and gray-striped hills; the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway was made one of the New Mexico Scenic Byways after July 31, 1998 and by 2013. Scenic byways in the United States Trail of the Ancients - Four Corners and Utah Trail of the Ancients, New Mexico Tourism Trail of the Ancients map and outline, Aztec Ruins National Monument Navajo Nation Scenic Byways - Travel Guidelines