Yucca House

A wall stabilized during an excavation of Yucca House
The view over a stabilized wall at Yucca House
Looking down the line of a stabilized stone wall at Yucca House
A stabilized wall at Yucca House

Yucca House is located in the valley west of Mesa Verde, between the mesa and Sleeping Ute Mountain. There were several pueblos in the area, Yucca House was only the biggest one.

The Western Complex contains about 600 rooms with about 100 small kivas and one large ceremonial kiva. A spring runs through the middle of the complex. The Upper House was a large building, 80 by 100 feet and several stories high. The Lower House was an L-shaped pueblo, about 200 feet by 15 feet, with a plaza and a large kiva.

In good years, there are 3 springs running through the Western Complex but in bad years, Aztec Springs is the only one running.

There hasn't been much excavation done at Yucca House but it is one of the largest pueblo ruins in southwestern Colorado with an extensive network of great houses and rancherias nearby. Because of that lack of excavation, little is known about the people who once lived here.

A Santa Clara elder once told me that his people sing songs about the generations they spent in the vicinity of Yucca House so long ago, and the years of migration over the Upper San Juan and down the Chama River Valley. I have wondered if that's the same for all the Northern Tewa people but I haven't gotten an answer yet.

Looking to the east across the valley floor to the western slopes of Mesa Verde
The view east to Mesa Verde
Photos courtesy of the National Park Service

Sites of the Ancients and approximate dates of occupation: