Highlights are nonstop at Mesa Verde, with a driving tour, and both guided and self-guided walking tours. More than 4,000 ruins exist, from 600 AD to 1300 AD, with 600 cliff dwellings.
It’s exciting to witness the evolution of the Ancient Puebloan people and their villages. The ruins are located in Southwest Colorado, in between Cortez and Mancos.
The scenic auto tour is excellent, but make sure you stop and see each site! It’ll take a few hours if you’re taking the time to see everything.
Dogs are not permitted on any of the hiking trails. They are permitted on the paved overlook trails and other paved areas. Be careful about leaving your dog(s) inside your car with much more than 60°F heat. Always leave windows cracked and water. Parking in the shade is usually not an option at Mesa Verde. Canyons Of The Ancients is a nearby archeological site that allows dogs on the trails.
Guided tours are 60 to 90 minutes long, depending on the tour. Definitely try to take a guided group tour. They are only $3, guides are insightful and you get to walk through the park’s most popular ruins, including Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House.
Some favorite self-guided tours included Coyote Village and Spruce Tree House. There’s also a free museum, library, and visitor center with information and exhibits.
The Morefield Campground is the first attraction you reach 4 miles into the park. There are 267 campsites over several loops. It’s the only campground, but more camping can be found at nearby Mancos State Park. You can also stay at the Far View Lodge, located right across from the the Visitor Center.
Camping runs $26 + tax, reservations taken through Aramark at Visit Mesa Verde The parks costs $10-$15 for a vehicle, $5-$8 for motorcycle or bike. All are good for 7 days.
Food & Drink
For food and drinks, the Spruce Tree Terrace Restaurant is open til 5pm next to the Museum. Another restaurant, mainly for hotel guests, is available in the Far View Terrance Restaurant. They serve upscale southwestern cuisine and are open late. There’s also a Lounge upstairs serving food and drinks.
Learn more about Mesa Verde National Park.
Another Anasazi site in the Southwest is Hovenweep National Monument.