Mesa Verde National Park is located in southwestern Colorado. About 700 years ago, Ancestral Pueblo people lived at Mesa Verde in cliff dwellings. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt established this location as a National Park.
The park covers about 52,000 acres and across that land are a few hundred cliff dwellings. One of the most famous in the park is called Cliff Palace. There are opportunities for guided tours through the various dwellings. In order to get a spot, be sure to book early.
The Far View Lodge is the only lodge inside the park. If you’d prefer, there is a campground as well. Inside the lodge is a lounge, dining room, gift shop, and Wifi. The views from the porches are incredible and the best spot to spend your mornings and evenings.
Along with the tours of the cliff dwellings are also hiking opportunities within the park. Most of the trails are around two miles. When I visited, I hiked the Soda Canyon Over Trail. It takes you to the edge of one of the plateaus so you can see one of the dwellings in the distance. If you’re not into hiking, there’s also Mesa Loop road which is a scenic drive that takes you all around the park over 6 miles that has various lookouts.
Mesa Verde is a must visit for both the history and the views. And within a few hours drive, you can get to the 4 Corners National Monument, the historical town of Durango, Hovenweep National Monument, Ute Mountain Tribal Park, and the town of Cortez. A bit further out are the town of Moab, Canyonlands National Park as well as Arches National Park. I highly recommend all three of those spots if you can budget the time. This whole part of the United States is both extraordinary and peaceful. I hope you can make it out that way either for your first time or a repeat visit. It’s a wonderful trip every single time.