Aztec Ruins Box  LbNA # 47971

Placed DateJun 6 2009
CountySan Juan
LocationAztec, NM
Found By(hidden)


There is a $5 entrance fee into Aztec Ruins

The Aztec Ruins National Monument is an archaeological site located on the Animas River, 2 miles north of Aztec, New Mexico. In 1776, a Spanish exploration party noted many ancestral Pueblo ruins as they crossed the Animas River valley looking for California. Father Escalante named the stream "Rio de las Animas Perdidas," or "river of lost souls." No photos or descriptions truly do the Aztec Ruins National Monument true justice.

Originally these ruins were thought to be relics of the great 15th century central Mexican civilization by early white settlers. Not so. The rise and fall of Aztec Ruins culture occurred centuries before the Central American peoples.
Because Chaco is considered to be the center of the Hisatsinom culture, Aztec Ruins and Salmon Ruin are called outliers of that center.

Aztec Ruins is located at nearly a half-way point between Chaco, 65 miles to the south, and Mesa Verde, 40 miles northwest. Chaco Canyon had a main occupation from 1050 to 1150, and Mesa Verde was mainly occupied between 1200 and 1275.

The Aztec Ruins National Monument is a preservation of structures and artifacts created and left by the ancient Pueblo people with buildings dating back to the 1200's

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 ˝ 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 ˝ 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 ˝ mile to the Monument.

CLUES FOR BOX: Go into the picnic area directly off the parking lot and follow the paved path to a wooded path and turn onto it. Because this path runs right next to the Ruins there are sighs that say, “Do not go beyond this point”. Follow this wooded path past 3 of the “Do not go beyond this point” signs and stop. Take aprox. 10 steps from this sign where there will be a cottonwood tree on the right, that used to be 2 trees gown together and one has been cut away. There is the perfect “Kangaroo pouch” created in this tree, inside which is the box covered in pieces of bark.

Please be very discreet, this can be a busy place and the grounds are well kept and watched by rangers. The Ruins are right behind you so people can see you from all directions. When you find the box, go to one of the picnic tables to stamp so you don’t draw attention to the tree. I’ve seen rangers walking through this area every time I’ve been. Do a good job of putting things back the way you found them. Enjoy the beauty and culture of the Ruins.