Hovenweep Goodman Point

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6643 - 6707 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Goodman Point
Fee: none
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan Ruins

Goodman Point is located in the Hovenweep National Monument in southwestern Colorado. Goodman Point was the first archaeological site in the country to receive protection from the federal government. Hovenweep National Monument is comprised of 6 discontiguous acreages that protect groups of ancestral Puebloan ruins. Goodman Point is the eastern most unit of Hovenweep National Monument. The remarkable masonry skills that are seen at the other Hovenweep sites are completely missing at Goodman Point as all of the ruins have been reduced to piles of ruble. Hovenweep is a Ute word that means 'deserted valley' which aptly describes the surrounding area with all the villages of ghostly ruins.

The Goodman Point trailhead is unmarked and there are no road signs indicating where to find it. Your best bet is to use the Google Map and choose 'Get directions'. The last leg of the drive is to turn west off of Highway 491 onto Road P and follow it for 5.8 miles to the unmarked parking area. Road P has a funny little kink in it where it bends to the right at about a 45 degree angle for about 8 tenths of a mile then straightens up again for a half mile where you make a left turn onto 18 road for another half mile and then turn right onto Road P again. As you continue west on Road P you will notice a fence on the left side of the road after about 7 tenths of a mile that has the metal NPS signs on it. The parking area is on the left within a quarter mile.

The trail register and Hovenweep sign are about a tenth of a mile from the parking area. Be sure and check the trail register for a brochure. The brochure is very important for making any sense of the piles of rubble that make up the site. Without the brochure the site is very anticlimactic.

There is a trail that leads to the left just over a hundred yards from the trail register. This marker is the last of the improvements made on the trail. For being the first protected archaeological site in the country and part of Hovenweep National Monument since 1951 it is very surprising to find no more improvements.

There are continuous piles of rubble that once formed the pueblo with its numerous kivas, towers and enclosing walls. From a cursory investigation one component of the ruins that is so obviously missing is any sign of mortar. The mud mortar has all been dissolved and returned to the ground. It would be interesting to know what was different about mortar at this site and similar ruins, like Sand Canyon Pueblo, that they are nothing more than piles of rubble while others like Lowry Pueblo are still standing.

It doesn't take much effort to spot sherds of pottery. There are many samples displayed on rocks where it is easy to compare the different styles of pottery and the variety of designs they were painted with. The sherds might be the most redeeming aspect of Goodman Point for the layman visitor to enjoy. And, to be enjoyed by everyone that visits they need to be left where they are.

If you look at this picture carefully you can make out a square depression in the ground that is several inches deep. This could possibly be the remnants of a 'waffle garden'. The farming technique of making a depression in the ground divided with small interior walls, which resembles a waffle, was used to contain moisture around the plants.

As long as you aren't expecting to see standing walls and the remarkable masonry and skilled construction that are seen at the other Hovenweep sites you won't be disappointed with Goodman Point. This location is only a short distance from the Sand Canyon Pueblo which is a little further to the west. The two sites are similar enough that they tend to compliment each other. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.