The Southwest is not just a big desert! Ever see a cactus bloom? Or eat a cactus apple? Or eat cactus for that matter? It lives through the various European and Native American cultures who adapted to the varied climate and geography to create one of the world’s most beautiful, intriguing, and mysterious places on Earth.
– Petrified Forest, AZ
With one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood, multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic structures, archeological sites, and displays of over 200-million-year-old fossils, this is a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating science.
Wupatki National Monument – Flagstaff, AZ
Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki Pueblo was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Yet this was one of the warmest and driest places on the Colorado Plateau, offering little obvious food, water, or comfort. How and why did people live here? The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Ganado, AZ
Feel the old wooden floor give slightly and squeak beneath your feet as you enter the oldest, continuously operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting of the “bullpen”, you might catch the trader negotiating a deal with a Native American artist for their art.
Capulin Volcano National Monument – Capulin, NM
Mammoths, giant bison, and short-faced bears witnessed the earthquakes and firework-like explosions which hurled molten rock thousands of feet into the air. Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument – Mountainair, NM
Once, thriving American Indian trade communities of Tiwa- and Tompiro-speaking Puebloans inhabited this remote area of central New Mexico. Early in the 17th-century, Spanish Franciscans visited the area and found it ripe for their missionary efforts. However, by 1677, the entire Salinas District was depopulated of both Indian and Spaniard alike.
Chamizal National Memorial – El Paso, TX
The Chamizal Convention of 1963 was a milestone in diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States. Chamizal National Memorial was established to commemorate this treaty, which resulted in the peaceful settlement of a century-long boundary dispute. The Memorial provides visitors with an opportunity to better understand the culture of our borderland.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument – Fritch, TX
Imagine yourself standing where an ancient civilization once lived, surrounded by colorful flint that was used to make weapons and tools. Alibates flint is a multi-colored stone with the ability to hold a sharp edge. This agatized dolomite was highly prized and traded throughout much of North America.