Our recent travels gave us the privilege of spending a few days in Southern Colorado. We placed ourselves near the Mesa Verde National Park as we planned to visit the park during our stay. Besides being filled and surrounded by ancient cedar trees, the park has over 600 cliff dwellings and 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains. The park indicates its elevation is between 7,000 – 8,572 feet, providing great views of the Ute and San Juan Mountains. Even Shiprock Mountain in New Mexico can be seen in the southern distance.
A view from outside the park is below:
There are many ways to explore the park: hiking, driving, camping and even tours that consist of some climbing of ladders, stone steps and crawling through small passage ways. We chose to drive and do some walking. My Fitbit measured well over 10,000 steps this day!
Some of the cliff dwellings have over 100 rooms, multiple kivas and housed approximately 70 people. As I viewed some of the ruins, I had to wonder how a family protected a toddler learning to walk while literally “living on the edge”?
We enjoyed the museum and the old buildings built during the early years of the park. We were unable to see absolutely everything Mesa Verde has to offer in the one day. We would have needed to spend 2 -3 days to experience all. Restaurants, lodging and camping are available within the park.
This is not a park to causally stop by only if you are driving through the area. This is a place to take the family and be intentional about your time.