“The walk you are about to undertake passes the ruins of many ancestral Puebloan dwellings.”
— Nicholas Shannon
Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife
This trail guide
is used by Colorado River boating parties during visits to Unkar Delta, once the home of prehistoric peoples. The trail is a 0.9 mile loop, over alluvial terraces and drainages. Allow approximately forty-five minutes, round-trip. This trail system has been developed to permit visitation while protecting the fragile desert environment and prehistoric remains.
Unkar Delta trail is a 0.8 mile loop, over alluvial terraces and drainages. Allow approximately forty-five minutes, round-trip. This trail system has been developed to permit visitation while protecting the fragile desert environment and prehistoric remains.
Human use of Unkar Delta began around AD 850. While the excavators suggested four distinct phases of occupation, recent interpretation suggests a gradual process of growth to a peak population around the year AD 1100. For reasons not yet fully understood, the Pueblo people migrated away from the delta by AD 1200. To the modern Hopi, their clans that migrated from Unkar did so in fulfillment of the covenant with the spiritual guardian, Masaw, so that today, the Hopis see Unkar as a footprint of the clans who once inhabited this village.
Farming was the key to life on Unkar Delta. Early living sites were built on the fertile terraces along Unkar Creek. As the population grew, and with it the demand for food, living sites were moved to the talus slopes above the floodplain to make room for more crops.
The sites along the low terraces were occupied earlier in the history of the delta (AD 850- 1050), those on the talus slopes, later (AD 1100- 1200). It is unlikely that any dwelling was occupied for more than thirty years, and not all were in use at the same time. The length of life for the people living on Unkar was not long, averaging thirty-four years.