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Mesa Verde National Park

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Let me start off with a huge thank you to our National Park Service, I am always amazed at how well kept our parks are every single time I enter one. That is no small feat with the amount of traffic they all receive annually. I was on a trip out to Utah a while back and finally made it a point to see the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.

This park is located in southwest Colorado near the city of Cortez. If you are heading to Four Corners, I highly suggest adding Mesa Verde as a stop with adequate time to take it all in. I was on a tight schedule and slept in the rest area on 160 near the entrance so I was in the park right at dawn and had it almost all to myself for a while.

The ride in takes you up a winding road into the mountains, there's a pull off at Mancos valley Overlook that you'll want to use so you can take in the view. Once you get moving again, you pass the campgrounds, I didn't stop and check them out on that trip but there's info on the website. The main road has a couple more scenic stops as you snake around the rim of the valley until you end up at the gift shop with plenty of parking for bigger rigs. Once you leave the gift shop, take a right towards the Far View House to see some of the ruins up close. This side road has limited parking down near the site so maybe not best for large rigs. There's a few more great stops if you have plenty of time, my guess is most people head straight for the museum area where you can see the cliff dwellings that we associate with the park. Once you make your way around the loops, the more you look, the more you see. To truly see some of the best dwellings you will have to walk a little and there is a guided tour down to the Cliff Palace site, the signs warn you it isn't easy and I believe them after just a short walk around. I did meet a great older couple that said they were going to take the tour later in the day even though they were warned against it, I will take it as well when I make my way back to the park. The scenery is beautiful and the history is amazing, making the side trip was 100% worth it. If you have younger children I definitely recommend a full day in the park learning Native American history, the best classroom is being there.

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