Being Utah residents, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch usually write about the attractions that are found in Southern Utah. But, of course, every state has its own collection of amazing locations. And since, in nature, there are no state lines, we’re adding a special section to our blog – Nearly Nearby Attractions. And this post is about Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
Mesa Verde is one of the best locations to explore American Indian architecture in, like, the world. The park contains several ancient Anasazi settlements that are built right into the cliff sides, which are fantastically fun to walk through. Some of them even require ascents via ladder. Cliff Palace, one site in the park, is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.
The park also has an impressive collection of artifacts from as early as 1000 BC. Mesa Verde has a distinct educational vibe to it, but it also gives tourists plenty of breathtaking views and exercise.
Most of the time spent there will be in company of a friendly park ranger, as the best way to experience the ruins is by guided tour. The rangers know the answers to almost any questions you can ask and their knowledge really adds to the experience.
We suggest, of course, that you make the visitor center your first stop in the park. Check out the artifacts on display, watch the film about the area and the ancient peoples that lived there, and get up-to-date information on everything park related.
Mesa Verde is near Cortez, Colorado, about an hour from Monticello, Utah. An entrance fee of $15 is charged for each entering vehicle, and is good for 7 days. There is camping available at the Morefield Campground or you can find accommodations nearby.
We highly encourage you to take a trip to Mesa Verde. It is one of the best national parks outside of Utah.