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Hike the New Roads to Ruins
Turns out the Chacoan people, like the Romans before them, were crazy about roads. They built more than 200 miles of them, mostly for ceremonial reasons. With the help of a newly released map (aztecchamber.com), visitors can trace the routes, which were once wider than two-lane highways and are often accessible from major byways in the Four Corners. Make sure to take in two of the less frequented sites along the ancient roads. Salmon Ruins, a thousand-year-old Chacoan-style great house that once had 250 rooms, sits on government-owned land near Aztec, New Mexico ($3; salmonruins.com). Nearby lies perhaps the most isolated community: Twin Angels Pueblo, a 17-room complex perched precariously on the edge of a canyon. This year, the Aztec Visitors Center marked this remote site on a map for the first time, though few people hike the half mile to view it. It may be the perfect place to ponder the secrets of the ancients: sitting on the edge of Kutz Canyon, next to a centuries-old masonry wall, with expansive views over sagebrush country.
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