Her name is Kuaua and she dances in the sand
Area: Coronado State Monument is located on the banks of the Rio Grande River, in central New Mexico just north of Albuquerque. It is here, in this unprepossessing spot that the history of what is now the southwestern United States began to change forever. In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado camped near this pueblo as he entered into what is now New Mexico. Coronado's entrada would drastically alter not only the lives of the Pueblo peoples living in the southwest, but totally change the political landscape from interdependent villages to a strong central government, first with Spain, then Mexico, and finally the United States.
Hike: Kuaua was a Tiwa village, and Tiwa villages still dot the Rio Grande floodplain around Albuquerque. For the most part, however, the village preserves pueblo history as it was at the cusp of the arrival of Europeans, as it was abandoned not long after Coronado visited the area. During the 1930's, excavations were carried out at Kuaua, and it was discovered that some of the kivas contained remarkable pre-European murals, vivid and lifelike images that represented portions of the Tiwa supernatural world. These murals were carefully peeled, layer by layer, from the kiva walls and preserved. Some of these murals are presented in the museum's Kiva Mural Hall, and are truly the draw of this extraordinary site. Also on display at the museum are Spanish and Kuaua artifacts found during excavations. Photos may be limited or restricted inside the museum, check at the front desk to find out more.
The trail then heads outside, where it loops through the pueblo. There were at least three, possibly four plazas enclosed by large, deep, multistory room blocks. Situated right on the banks of the Rio Grande, water was in easy supply and the ability to irrigate lots of crops was available, allowing the pueblo to flourish and grow. As you tour the site, be sure to check out the views to the east towards the Sandias, the prominent mountain range which Albuquerque sits at the base of. There is also a restored kiva that you climb down into, to see what the Kuauan's must have experienced every day.
The trail eventually loops back to the parking area. You can leave from here, or head to the Rio Grande picnic area, with picnic trees and shade ramadas before going back to your vehicle and departing.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.