20 Best Things to Do


There’s little doubt that Mesa Verde Country in southwestern Colorado is a spot wealthy in historical past and tradition. After all, it’s best generally known as the house of the Ancestral Puebloans, who constructed spectacular cliff dwellings alongside Mesa Verde’s canyon partitions and are one among its predominant points of interest.

Of course, there are many issues to discover and uncover in, out, and across the Mesa Verde space, reminiscent of scenic byways, incredible mountain biking locations, a nationwide park, and a lot extra.

1. Explore Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage website, and as soon as of the principle causes that folks come to the realm. The park was established in 1906 to guard and protect Mesa Verde area’s archaeological websites, which incorporates among the best-preserved cliff dwellings within the United States. 

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Palace

The park has greater than 4700 archaeological websites and 600 cliff dwellings, six of which you’ll go to up shut! One of the preferred of those dwellings is the Cliff Palace, one of many park’s largest and best-preserved of all of them.

Located on the coronary heart of the park, you may rise up near the Cliff Palace through a tour, which takes you on a 1/4-mile (0.4-kilometer) stroll by quite a few steep, slim staircases and ladders. The stroll itself is bucket record worthy!

While the Cliff Palace is probably the most well-known of the dwellings, there are additionally many different spectacular constructions scattered throughout the park. For instance, with 38 rooms and two kivas, Balcony House was a modest city that might doubtlessly accommodate as much as 30 folks. Another spotlight is the Spruce Tree House, which was constructed into a big Douglas fir tree. To get probably the most out of your go to, positively ebook a tour!

The most handy place to remain for simple entry to the park, is Far View Lodge which is definitely positioned inside Mesa Verde National Park. The lodge sits on a cliff with sweeping views of the encircling countryside. This was my killer view:

Far View Lodge

2. Go Wine Tasting

Wine tasting in Southwest Colorado? Absolutely! And it’s an expertise to not be missed. Sutcliffe Vineyards and Yellow Car Country Wines provide among the greatest wines within the area, and their tasting rooms are the right place to pattern a wide range of varietals.

Sutcliffe focuses on Old World-style wines (I purchased a bottle of their Malbec!!), whereas Yellow Car affords a extra trendy twist on fruit wines and meads (just like the ​​Motor Car lime wine with mint and Yellow Car mead that tastes like a Lemon Drop sweet). You could make a pleasant afternoon sipping wine on their patios surrounded by the attractive views of Mesa Verde Colorado.

3. Ride the Galloping Goose No. 5 (Or Just Ogle it!)

The Galloping Goose No. 5 is one among seven different railroad automobiles inbuilt 1933 by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS). The railroad automobiles as soon as transported items and passengers between Durango and Ridgway, Colorado, till RGS went out of enterprise in 1951. The Galloping Goose No. 5 was purchased and restored by the Galloping Goose Historical Museum and now serves as its centerpiece in downtown Dolores.

A couple of instances a yr guests can truly get the possibility to trip this classic railroad automobile, which takes you to completely different sights whereas coasting one of many native historic railroads. 

Galloping Goose No. 5

4. Play a Round at Conquistador Golf Course

Are you a golf lover like me? Then don’t miss the possibility to play a spherical at The Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez, Colorado. It is an 18-hole, par 72 public golf course constructed within the early Sixties and is understood for its difficult format and exquisite surroundings.

FYI: The course is often open from March 1st to mid-November fifteenth (climate allowing). 

5. Explore by Mountain Bike

More than 600 miles of trails can be found in Mesa Verde nation, starting from single tracks to strenuous climbs within the San Juan Mountains. Phil’s World Bike Trail is without doubt one of the greatest mountain biking path networks within the state. The path system is 26.7 miles lengthy and has a wide range of terrain, starting from straightforward to troublesome. 

The path can be house to stunning surroundings and numerous wildlife (like deer, weasels and rabbits), so maintain your eyes peeled for these.

6. Hike Around the Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is a group of historical ruins that date again to the twelfth century—the monument consists of six completely different archaeological websites that had been as soon as house to the Ancestral Pueblo folks. 

Hovenweep National Monument

It is without doubt one of the best-preserved examples of Ancestral Pueblo structure, offering perception into the on a regular basis lives of those historical folks. Today, the monument is open to the general public for exploration and schooling. You can get an incredible view of among the websites by taking a simple 5-10 minute stroll to the Square Tower, however among the others would require extra mountaineering on uneven terrain.

7. Explore Canyons of the Ancients Monument

The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, which spans a whopping 176,056 acres, is a craggy and sumptuous area with the best identified focus of historical websites within the United States. 6,000 historical monuments (together with cliff homes, communities, and rock artwork) are scattered over the realm.

The website can be a phenomenal place to discover on foot, however for an excellent higher bucket record expertise see it on horseback! Canyon Trails Ranch affords a horseback journey that can have you ever feeling such as you’re stepping again in time as you trip by canyons, sandstone cliffs, and mesas, taking within the wonderful surroundings. And a educated information shall be main the way in which, so that you’ll have the ability to loosen up and benefit from the trip.

Plus, you’ll additionally have the ability to hop off your four-legged trip so you may hike nearer to among the websites to get a greater view. For one thing further particular, keep in one among their tiny wagons positioned at their campsite:

8. Drive the San Juan Skyway 

The San Juan Skyway is a 232-mile lengthy scenic byway that loops by the center of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. It can be probably the most spectacular drives within the nation, passing by the vast majority of Colorado’s San Juans, a rocky and inaccessible area of the Rocky Mountains. The loop traverses by quite a few tiny cities, by breathtaking mountain passes, and follows creeks and rivers.

Drive the San Juan Skyway 

9. Sit on the Four States at Once

Did you understand which you could stand on 4 US States at one time? The Four Corners Monument marks the purpose the place the borders of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. And it’s a standard spot for a fast cease to examine it off the bucket record. 

Sit on the Four States at Once

10. Visit Ute Mountain Tribal Park

Ute Mountain Tribal Park is a big, tribal-owned nature protect in southwest Colorado. Also generally known as “The Other Mesa Verde,” it covers practically 125,000 acres of land and is house to spectacular cliff dwellings, pictographs, and different historical artifacts.

The park is open to the general public and affords a wide range of actions, together with tenting, mountaineering, fishing, and internet hosting a number of academic applications and occasions all year long. Whether you’re in search of a spot to camp or simply need to study extra concerning the pure world, Ute Mountain Tribal Park is certainly price a go to.

Visit Ute Mountain Tribal Park

11. Tap Into the Cider Culture

If you’re within the temper for a cider journey, Southwest Colorado is the place to be. Fence Line Cider and EsoTerra Ciderworks are two native cideries which can be positively price a go to.

Fence Line Cider affords a wide range of ciders constituted of locally-sourced apples, and their taproom is the right place to loosen up and pattern a number of completely different sorts, reminiscent of their Seedling Cider. EsoTerra Ciderworks focuses on artisanal ciders like Crimson Gold, and their tasting room is positioned in a phenomenal setting with nice views.

12. Peek Into the Cortez Cultural Center

The Cortez Cultural Center, positioned in a landmark construction from 1909, is house to a plethora of data on archaeology and Native American tradition. Interpretive reveals on the Basketmaker and Pueblo durations of the Ancestral Pueblo persons are on show within the Center’s museum, together with artifacts from the Navajo, Pueblo, and Ute Mountain Ute tribes. Monthly exhibitions additionally function artwork from native and regional artists.

13. Stay at a Guest Ranch

Hotels are positively the go-to place for many vacationers to remain when visiting a brand new locale or nation. But since we’re all about making recollections and residing our bucket record, why not add a unique sort of expertise throughout your journey by staying at a visitor ranch as a substitute?

Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch

Like lodges, visitor ranches provide lodging to guests. However, additionally they allow you to expertise ranch life and loads of different out of doors actions throughout your keep, like horseback driving and fishing.

I can whole-heartedly suggest the Canyon of the Ancients Ranch Guest House that may be a peaceable piece of property with a number of rentable cabins positioned within the coronary heart of the canyonlands. And these aren’t any extraordinary cabins, they’re particular. The interiors are worthy of a spot in Architectural Digest—decked out in native handicrafts and artworks introduced from India. Plus, contemporary eggs from the rooster coop shall be ready for you within the fridge.

 Annette at the Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch

The working ranch additionally has loads of alternatives for animal interplay. You will love the cows, chickens, sheep and pleasant canines!

Due to its location, it’s the excellent place to remain when exploring all the realm has to supply, like Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument and, after all, the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

14. Stroll Through Downtown Mancos

Mancos is a small city in Mesa Verde the place the cowboy tradition meets western arts meets historic downtown. Its downtown space is house to eateries like Absolute Bakery the place the folks come for miles for the scrumptious pastries (I can actually vouch for the ​Key Lime Raspberry Bar!). Don’t miss a cease at Mancos Common Press to buy some handcrafted letterpress playing cards and to see printing artifacts that date again over 100 years. To get somewhat style of the Wild, Wild West do some purchasing at Dave Sipe’s Folk Art and Artisans of Mancos, who provide a variety of products, from garments to jewellery to artwork.

Mancos Downtown

15. Walk Through Hawkins Preserve

The Hawkins Preserve is a 122-acre nature protect that’s house to completely different plant and animal life. The pure desert surroundings affords over 3 miles of mountaineering trails lined with cactus and sagebrush (and blooming flowers within the spring!).

Hawkins Preserve

There are round 10-11 interconnected mountaineering trails within the protect (that are all straightforward hikes!), with the preferred ones embody Ruins Road Loop, Foxtrot Run, Jackrabbit, and Mesa View Trail. Notable websites are the Hawkins Pueblo, which is the most important smash within the protect, and several other cliff dwellings that can be seen within the space.

16. Visit Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is an academic nonprofit group devoted to understanding and preserving the wealthy historical past of the Ancient Pueblo folks. Nestled within the canyon nation of southwest Colorado, the Center affords a wide range of applications and occasions that provide you with a style of life within the historical world.

From hands-on archaeological fieldwork to cultural demonstrations and lectures, there’s something for everybody at Crow Canyon. The Center additionally homes a state-of-the-art archaeology laboratory, the place researchers analyze artifacts from Crow Canyon and different websites within the area. 

17. Daytrip to Durango

If you’re in search of issues to do in Durango, you gained’t be disillusioned. Located round 46 miles east of the town of Cortez, this historic city affords a wealth of actions for guests of all ages. Some of the highest eats and drinks within the space embody Michel’s Corner Crepes, Derailed Pour House, and The Office Spiritorium.

Start your journey by exploring the Animas Riverwalk, a scenic path that winds alongside the riverside. Then head to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum to study concerning the space’s wealthy railway historical past. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which affords gorgeous views of the encircling mountains. For a style of the native tradition, you should definitely go to the Strater Hotel, which is house to the most important assortment of Victorian vintage walnut furnishings on the planet.

Daytrip to Durango

18. See a Show at Sunflower Theatre

The Sunflower Theater is a performing arts venue in downtown Cortez that first opened its doorways in January 2015. It options 107 seats and is the one multipurpose indoor venue within the space that can be utilized for reside music, motion pictures, lectures, and theater performances year-round.

Some of the numerous excellent performances that graced the theater’s partitions embody Carvin Jones: King of Strings, Music within the Mountains, and the First Friday Cortez occasions. 

19. Shop for Native American Arts at Notah-Dineh

When it involves distinctive Native American artwork and souvenirs, Notah-Dineh is the place to buy. Some of the objects they provide embody custom-made Navajo rugs, sandpaintings, sterling jewellery, and authentic artworks by Native American artists.

Along with Ute and Navajo pottery, Notah-Dineh additionally comprises an distinctive assortment of Pueblo pottery, starting from tiny collectible miniatures to intricate showpieces by up to date grasp potters. They even have on everlasting show the most important identified weaving of the Two Grey Hills rug (12′ by 18′).

20. Hike McPhee Overlook Trail in Dolores

The McPhee Overlook Trail is without doubt one of the hottest mountaineering trails in Dolores. This average 8.8-mile path affords gorgeous views of the encircling mountains and valleys and is discovered on the western fringe of the Boggy Draw path community.

The path’s northern finish connects with Bean Canyon Loop, and it’s a point-to-point observe that could be accessible from the southern finish of Dolores, throughout from Joe Rowell Park. Do take notice that parts of the path shut yearly on account of seasonal restrictions, ranging from December 1st, so you should definitely plan forward.

. . .

Mesa Verde Colorado is a particular place that provides a singular alternative to step again in time and study concerning the individuals who as soon as referred to as this space house. Whether you’re exploring the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, mountaineering by the forests, or just having fun with the views, there’s one thing for everybody.

Best Tips for Visiting Mesa Verde Colorado

Getting There: Cortez Municipal Airport is the closest airport to Mesa Verde and has day by day connecting flights to Denver International Airport. You can simply examine for the perfect fare offers at Skyscanner, which additionally has the choice to decide on ‘cheapest month’ because the departure to seek out the bottom priced dates to fly to your vacation spot. From the airport to the town heart, you need to use the take a taxi or hire a automobile.

Where to Stay in Mesa Verde Colorado: It’s greatest to remain close to the town heart, public transportation or the realm that you can be spending probably the most time in. Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez Co is a good selection within the Cortez district. For one thing on the cheaper facet, strive Retro Inn at Mesa Verde positioned in Cortez. For a lodge with somewhat extra extravagance, ebook a room on the Rustic Hideaway. If you need to keep inside Mesa Verde National Park then the Far View Lodge is the right selection. Or search some nice offers on lodges of your selection at Booking.com. If you’re in search of extra of a house ambiance (or are touring with a gaggle of individuals), head over to Airbnb that has homes, flats and even only a room for hire in each value vary. 

Getting Around: Driving in a brand new vacation spot generally is a little bit of a problem, however when you select to hire a automobile, RentalCars.com has nice offers. If you aren’t renting a automobile, there are many different choices. Taxis, Lyft and Uber can be found everywhere in the metropolis. 

Best Tours in Mesa Verde Colorado: You can discover among the high excursions at Get Your Guide or Viator, and listed below are among the high ones. excursions:

Insurance: It’s at all times a good suggestion to journey absolutely insured so you’re protected in case of journey cancellations or medical emergencies. You can try pricing at Travelex Insurance

This put up could include affiliate hyperlinks. If you make a purchase order by my hyperlinks, I earn a fee that helps to maintain this weblog operating—at no further value to you. You can learn my full disclosure right here.

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