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Photograph courtesy of Western Spirit Cycling
Alone With the Ancients

More than six million tourists flocked to the Four Corners region in 2008, making a beeline for the sandstone rock formations and ancestral Puebloan dwellings at places like Arches National Park and Mesa Verde. Hovenweep National Monument, meanwhile, saw just 25,411 visitors. “Hovenweep’s one of the more remote areas left in the country,” says Western Spirit Cycling president Ashley Korenblat. This spring Korenblat’s Moab-based outfit will lead the first commercial biking trip to the monument, which lies some 70 miles east of Cortez, Colorado, at the end of a circuitous country road. Once a major center for the ancestral Puebloans, Hovenweep’s sprawling collection of ruins doubles as a giant outdoor classroom for Native American history buffs. The trip is a kid-friendly affair, with interactive workshops along with double- and singletrack cruising. You’ll see 800-year-old Horseshoe Tower and try your hand at grinding corn with a traditional mortar and pestle. At night, you’ll camp near the ruins, which is something the millions of Four Corners visitors are definitely not doing. “It’s a chance for kids to stare at a ruin by themselves,” says Korenblat. It’s also a chance to learn about a culture with a progressive environmental ethic—a stated priority for Korenblat. “They lived so delicately off the land without making the big mess we do today.”

Outfitter: Western Spirit Cycling;
Price: $1,185 ($$)
Length: 5 days
Departs: March–April

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