Colorado is home to the Four Corners Monument, the only place in the entire U.S. where you can be in four states at once. Because of the way the state borders were drawn, visitors can stand on the monument and truly be in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah simultaneously.
Naturally, the Four Corners is a wildly popular tourist attraction. Visitors come from all over the world just to get a photo of themselves standing in four states at once. However, there’s actually a lot more to do and see in the area. From scenic roads to famous historical sites, here are some tips and all the must-see places you should visit alongside the Four Corners Monument.
Where exactly is the Four Corners Monument?
In order to stand in four states at once, travel to Colorado’s southwesternmost point. The monument is off Highway 160, about 45 minutes from Cortez, 90 minutes from Durango, and seven hours from Denver. A bit too far for a day trip from the Mile High City, but just about the perfect distance for a weekend getaway.
Note that the Four Corners Monument is in a rural area. Restrooms and picnic areas are available onsite, as well as a small Navajo artisan market. Aside from that, services including gas are extremely limited within a 30-mile radius. Be prepared by fueling up ahead of time and bringing plenty of water and snacks.
Stand in four states at once, but don’t miss these nearby attractions
The American Southwest is famous for its natural beauty and iconic landscapes. Some of the most breathtaking sites are just a short distance from the Four Corners. Make sure to set aside enough time to explore at least some of them!
Regardless of where you travel from to visit the Four Corners Monument, Durango is an easy side trip. It’s just an hour-and-a-half away and offers plenty of activities for people of all ages.
History buffs will love the town’s numerous museums, and everyone can appreciate a scenic ride on the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Thrillseekers should head up to Purgatory Resort, which offers four-season adventures including winter sports, hiking, ziplining, and a family ropes course. To take in some of Colorado’s most epic views, hit the Million Dollar Highway and drive a stretch of one of America’s most scenic roads.
Mesa Verde National Park
Another can’t-miss attraction not far from both Four Corners and Durango is Mesa Verde National Park. This diverse park has miles of trails and sweeping views, but the stars are the well-preserved ancient cliff dwellings.
All the ruins in Mesa Verde are spectacular, but our favorites include Spruce Tree House, Balcony House, and Cliff Palace. Note that while several of the cliff dwellings have easily accessible overlooks, some do require short hikes and scrambling over rocks.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients actually has “the highest known archaeological site density in the United States,” according to the Bureau of Land Management. It’s in Cortez, just 45 minutes from Four Corners, so this is a must if you’re already in the area.
Explore ancient ruins — several almost unbelievably complete — as well as sweat lodges and sacred kivas. The enormous 40-room Lowry Pueblo is the most popular site in Canyons of the Ancients. There are plenty of fascinating petroglyphs and other artifacts all over, though. Bring your own snacks as there’s no food on-site, and stop by the visitor center for a map.
The past year has been a very challenging time for travel, adventure, and events around our state. While we’re aware these uncertain times may limit many aspects of life, we hope our editorials provide helpful tips while ensuring safe social and physical distancing.