Visit Aztec Ruins National Park

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Nearby Attractions:
Aztec Ruins National Park
Bisti Wilderness Area
Chaco Canyon
Navajo Resevoir
Mesa Verde
Chimney Rock
Route 66
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My Life is in Ruins T-Shirt

The Blue Cactus Art Gallery

Southwest Art by Jerry McElroy

Around 1100 A.D. ancestral Pueblo people embarked on an ambitious building project along the Animas River in northwestern New Mexico. In less than three decades they built a monumental "great house." Aztec West stands three-stories high, stretches longer than a football field and once had as many as 500-rooms including a ceremonial "great kiva" over 40-feet in diameter.

The incredible Aztec Ruins in Aztec, New Mexico

A short trail winds through room blocks of this massive site offering visitors a uniquely intimate experience. Along the way discover original roofs intact, ponder intriguing "T" shaped and north-facing corner doors, see a reed mat left by early inhabitants and more. The trail culminates by descending into the reconstructed great kiva, a building that inherently inspires contemplation, wonder, and an ancient sense of sacredness.

Aerial View of the Aztec Ruins, Aztec, New Mexico.

Aerial view of West Ruin

Summer high temperatures range between 80° and 90° degrees with a few days over 100°. The fall is usually pleasant, with mild days and crisp nights. Winter daytime temperatures range between the 20° and 50° with cold nights that can reach 0°. Spring weather is especially unpredictable: it can be windy, cold, and wet, or still, warm, and dry.

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Getting Here
By car: Aztec Ruins National Monument is located on Ruins Road about 1/2 mile north of New Mexico Highway 516, in the City of Aztec, New Mexico.

From Albuquerque/Bloomfield: Follow Highway 550 north into the City of Aztec, turn left at the "T" intersection onto Highway 516, drive 3/4 mile, then turn right immediately after crossing the river onto Ruins Road. Follow Ruins Road ½ mile to the Monument.

From Durango: Follow Highway 550 south into the City of Aztec. Highway 550 will become 516. Follow 516 and turn right immediately after crossing the river onto Ruins Road. Follow Ruins Road ½ mile to the Monument.

From Farmington: Follow Highway 516 east into the City of Aztec; 1/4 mile past Lightplant Road turn left onto Ruins Road. Follow Ruins Road ½ mile to the Monument.

Operating Hours & Seasons
Aztec Ruins National Monument is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most of the year and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. The park is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th, and January 1st.

Fees & Reservations
Entrance to the park is $5.00 per person for anyone over fifteen years old. Entrance passes are good for seven days. Kids fifteen and under get in free.

Interagency Annual, Senior and Access pass holders and up to 4 adults are also admitted free of charge. Interagency Volunteer passes are also honored.

All National Park Pass, Golden Eagle, Golden Eagle Hologram, Golden Access, Golden Age Passports will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass. Only paper Golden Age and Access Passports may be exchanged free of charge for new plastic passes.

Note: Educational and scientific institutions may be eligible for a fee waiver. For more information go to: the link For Teachers, then Plan A Field Trip, then Educational Fee Waiver or call (505) 334-6174.

Self-Guided Trail: Aztec Ruins provides visitors an intimate opportunity to explore the ancient Puebloan "great house" known as West Ruin. A self-guided 1/2 mile walk winds through rooms built centuries ago. Along the way discover skillful stone masonry, remarkably well-preserved wood roofing and original mortar in some walls. The interpretive trail guide combines modern archeological findings and traditional Native American perspectives to enhance the visitor experience. At the trail's end, visitors enter the Great Kiva. This awesome semi-subterranean structure, over 40-feet in diameter, was the central social and religious site of this ancient complex. Now reconstructed, Aztec Ruins' Great Kiva is the oldest and largest building of its kind.

Interpretive Programs: Rangers offer interpretive talks throughout the summer at scheduled times. Other activities include scholarly lectures and demonstrations of traditional American Indian crafts. The times and locations of these events are posted in mid-spring.The mysterious ruins of Aztec New Mexico.

Visitor Center:

The museum features a variety of ancient artifacts excavated at or related to Aztec Ruins. Throughout the day a 25 minute video, "Hisatsinom," reveals the pre-Columbian history of the Four Corners region.

Nearby Attractions

National Park Areas:

Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Hovenweep National Monument
Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Navajo National Monument
Bandelier National Monument

Other Nearby Attractions:

The Anasazi Heritage Center
88mi Dolorez, CO
Angel Peak Recreation Area (BLM)
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (BLM)
60mi NM
Chimney Rock
75mi Pagosa Springs, CO
Four Corners National Monument
Monument Valley
174mi near Kayenta, AZ
Navajo Dam State Park
25mi Navajo Dam, NM
Salmon Ruins
12mi Bloomfield, NM
Ute Mountain Tribal Park
85mi CO

For area information contact:

Aztec Chamber of Commerce
110 N. Ash
Aztec, NM 87410

Farmington Convention & Visitor Center
203 W. Main - Suite 401
Farmington, NM 87401

Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce
224 W. Broadway
Bloomfield, NM 87413

Bureau of Land Management
1235 La Plata Highway, Suite A
Farmington, NM 87401


Full moon over the Aztec Ruins in Aztec, New Mexico
Corner doorway at Aztec West

Doorways through corner room joints are not supposed to be structurally sound. Yet, three North-facing corner doors at Aztec Ruins have stood for over 800 years. Why did ancient builders include these features in their design?

The Aztec Ruins were not ancient Aztec temples! This site was home to ancestral Pueblo people. Scholars once thought the Aztecs migrated to Mexico from the southwestern U.S. Later, commercial maps and early settlers mistakenly called monumental ruins along the Animas River - the "Aztec Ruins."

The Aztec Ruins in New Mexico

Inside the "Great Kiva" at the Aztec Ruins in New Mexico.
Inside the Great Kiva

Did You Know?
A place of worship, council, and social interaction, the Great Kiva was the core of an ancient Pueblo community at Aztec Ruins. Submerged within the central plaza, this room is the oldest and largest reconstructed "great kiva" anywhere.

Through the doorways in the ruins of the Aztec Ruins in New Mexico.

For more information on the Ancestral Pueblo People, visit

Contact Info;
Visitor Services
#84 County Road
Aztec, New Mexico 87410

Visitor Information
(505) 334-6174

(505) 334-6372


My Life is in Ruins T-Shirts and Hats


Southwest Art by Jerry McElroy