Three Kiva Pueblo

Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5030 - 5041 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Three Kiva Pueblo
Fee: none
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan ruins

The Three Kiva Pueblo is located along Montezuma Creek between Monticello and Blanding, Utah. The Montezuma Canyon and surrounding areas were extensively populated up to about 1300 A.D. when for unknown reasons the inhabitants left. Of the many archaeological sites along Montezuma Creek the Three Kiva Pueblo is one of the few that isn't on private land. Many of the sites on private land can still be viewed from the public road as you drive through the canyon.

Getting to Three Kiva Pueblo takes a little time. The brochure they have at the visitor centers has a map that shows 3 different ways to drive. The most direct route is to drive south from Monticello on Highway 191 for 5.5 miles and then turn left on the Montezuma Creek Road, C-146 and keep driving for 27 miles on the dirt road. From Blanding drive south on Highway 191 for about 1 mile and turn left on Browns Canyon Road, C-219. Keep driving until you come to Perkins Road, C-206, and follow it for about 19 miles where you turn left at a well site onto the Montezuma Creek Road, C-146, and continue north for about 7 miles. The route with the least amount of gravel road is probably via the Hatch Trading Post on Highway 262 where you turn left onto the Montezuma Creek Road and drive north for about 16 miles. The drive is about 53 miles going this route but it is 16 miles of gravel and dirt compared to 27 via the other routes.

Archaeological research by Brigham Young University has come up with 14 rooms, 3 kivas, a possible turkey run and a ramada. We thought the ramada was kind of exciting because it would have had some type of thatch roof made of brush. While we have known that most pueblos had common areas it hadn't dawned on us that there might be some that had a covering.

One of the kivas has been reconstructed and equipped with a ladder for visitors to enter.

Going into a kiva and sitting for a moment has taken on a whole new feeling after reading Teddy Roosevelt's account of witnessing the Snake Dance ritual of the Hopi. There is no evidence that the inhabitants of the Three Kiva Pueblo practiced the same ritual but like the Hopi they probably had many other ceremonies that were just as special.

The roof of the kiva is covered with dirt and very solid to walk on. With the other rooms having similar construction it makes it practical to picture people moving around and going through their daily routine on the rooftops.

It is always nice to see pottery sherds that have been left at a site.

Once you get past the remoteness of the site from the nearest paved road and consider the journey as an adventure with other ruins and petroglyph panels to be discovered along the way then the drive doesn't seem so bad. We explored several other ruins that we might post at a later date. Because of the other things to see in the area and the length of the drive you might want to plan on at least 2 hours of driving each way. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.