Circle of Friends:
Mule Canyon contains several easy to access Anasazi (sometimes called
Ancient Pueblo or Ancestral Pueblo) cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. These
ruins are almost effortless to reach and require only a short stroll. Please take only
pictures and leave only footprints.
Mule Canyon is part of the "Circle of Friends"
program. Members of the "Circle of Friends"
have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints,
trailhead location and detailed maps. If you
would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign
"Circle of Friends"
Lower Mule Canyon requires a short hike. The route is suitable for adults,
seniors and children of all ages. This is a vary nice group of ruins that
are easy to access. The route is 1/2 mile each way with minor elevation gain.
This is a desert environment, every member of your hiking party should carry a minimum of
at least one liter of water. The ruins are accessible year round in good weather.
A GPS is useful in verifying you
are on the correct route. Navigation for this route is easy. Lower Mule Canyon is rated 1A I using the Canyon Rating System.
Ancient Pueblo vs. Ancestral Pueblo vs. Anasazi:
The word "Anasazi" has
popularly come to mean 'ancient ones' but is considered by some to be a
racist term. The word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." It is
unfortunate that a non-Pueblo word has come to stand for a tradition that is
certainly ancestral Pueblo. The term was first applied to the ruins of Mesa
Verde by Richard Wetherill, a rancher and trader who, in 1888-1889, was the
first Anglo-American to explore the sites in that area. Wetherill knew and
worked with Navajos and understood what the word meant. The name was further
sanctioned in archaeology when it was adopted by Alfred V. Kidder, the
acknowledged dean of Southwestern Archaeology. Kidder felt that is was less
cumbersome than a more technical term he might have used.
Using the term Ancient
Pueblo or Ancestral Pueblo is also problematical. Such usage obscures the
observation that the Mogollon tradition is also considered to be ancestral
to Pueblo peoples. Most archaeologists are tradition bound and continue to
use the term Anasazi, which is prominent in their professional
literature. Additionally, some archaeologists who would try to change the
term have worried that because the Pueblos speak different languages, there
are different words for "ancestor," and using one might be offensive to
people speaking other languages.
This trailhead is accessible to all vehicles in dry weather conditions.