The Trail of the Ancients scenic road network encompasses a web of roadways which provide the traveler with incredible vistas, desert landscapes, and insights into the rich Navajo culture as well as ancient Puebloan culture through a wealth of archaeological sites. Impressive vistas, nature and geology dominate much of the Byway.
The Trail of the Ancients within the Navajo Nation encompasses roads in Utah and New Mexico. As part of a larger network, the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway, when completed, will be a network connecting the Four Corners states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
The Trail of the Ancients takes you back to a time long before the United States existed, long before Spaniards came north from what is today Central America. Arid and mostly uninhabited, the terrain along the byway conceals secrets of bygone populations, vibrant people who came and went like snow in warm spring sunshine or tumbleweeds at the front of a desert storm. The byway travels through some of our country's most beautiful yet austere country, and it lends itself to contemplation and rejuvenation as well as recreational adventures.
Though desolate now, people have lived around the Trail of the Ancients from at least 10,000 BC. They sustained themselves by hunting game and gathering food plants. The Ancestral Puebloans entered the scene later and occupied the Four Corners area from around AD 1300. Their life revolved around settled communities and horticulture. At numerous stops along the circuitous byway today, ruins and other cultural elements -- tools, pottery shards, petroglyphs, and pictographs -- serve as rich reminders of these ancient peoples.
Seasons and people, flora and fauna come and go, human cultures shifting and ecosystems adapting. The nature of a desert preserves the past and blends familiar whispers of the area's ancient inhabitants with today's sandy winds. After the Ancestral Puebloans, both Ute and Navajo Indians settled in the area, enriching the cultural traces that can be found by today's tourist along the entire byway. With this spectacular backdrop, the Trail of the Ancients offers a vacation and an education.
Source: Byways.org, http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2597/stories/63763