Sand Canyon – East Rock Creek Loop

Pueblo Ruins and Natural Arch

Featured Route
in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, CO
  • Total Length
  • Ascent
  • Difficulty

On the southern end of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Sand Canyon offers several trail options that weave between numerous ruins and natural wonders. This route loops along the Sand Canyon Trail and its rich corridor of pueblo ruins, up the East Rock Creek Trail to its namesake arch, and back.  

Unlike most BLM land, this area prohibits off trail usage. Be sure to stay an appropriate distance from all ruins and not touch any historic objects; defacing or taking anything can result in large fines and several years in prison. 

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Loop
  • Scenic
Elevation Profile
Start Hiking
For 504ft
Indian Ruin

Just past the trailhead, the rugged Castle Rock outcrop will be on the right side. At its base are the remains of a few walls where a pueblo with up to 40 rooms once stood. 

Continue Hiking
For 1.1mi
One circular wall can be seen along this stretch as well as several empty alcoves and other rock formations. 
Indian Ruin

One of the most picturesque ruins in the canyon, this small two-room dwelling is named for the spire above.  As with all sites, do not enter or approach. 


A well formed, natural arch high up on the cliffside to the right. 

Continue Hiking
For 3.1mi
The connector trail back to the trailhead has several impressive ruins, so be sure to pay attention to the alcoves you pass by.