Mule Canyon Ancient Puebloan Dwelling
Mule Canyon: This hike could easily be done in one day instead of two, but there is so much to see you will want to take your time and make many stops along the way. The main attractions are the Anasazi Indian ruins that can be seen under the cliffs on the north side of the canyon. The Anasazis occupied this area for about 550 years between 750 and 1300 A.D. They were a peaceful people who farmed the canyon lands throughout the four corners area, and, judging from the number of archeological sites they left behind, their population was substantial.
In the last half of the thirteenth century the Anasazi people began to leave places like Mule Canyon, and by 1300 their communities had been completely abandoned. Why? A long drought that plagued the southwest between 1276 and 1299 was undoubtedly a major factor. Some archeologist believe another factor was the southern migration of Navajos and other nomadic tribes that came into the region at about that time.
The ruins you will see in Mule Canyon are between seven and nine hundred years old. They are not part of any National Park, Monument, or Wilderness Area, and they have never been excavated or restored in any way. The opportunity to discover these ruins in this wild setting, with no rangers around telling you how to behave, is what makes Mule Canyon such an exciting place. But with that freedom comes great responsibility. The ruins are a precious national treasure and should be treated as such. View them with awe, but please do not deface them in any way, and do not steal any of the pottery shards or other artifacts you may find around them. Preserve them so that others may also experience the magic of the canyon.
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