There are many reasons to visit Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. From the grand views to excavations of the fascinated ancient Pueblo homes, there is something to pique the interest of any traveler. If you chose to stay at Far View Lodge or camp in the park, you will be treated to breathtaking nighttime views and, if you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the wild horses roaming nearby. Mesa Verde is a must-see for anyone traveling in or near southwest Colorado.
Background on Mesa Verde
From around 600-1300AD, the Pueblo people inhabited what is now call Mesa Verde. The initial homes were atop the mesa, partially dug into the ground. Eventually, the Pueblo people migrated to the cliffs, where they constructed the famous cliff dwellings for which the park is known. The archeology of the area is fascinating, with over 5,000 sites.
Recognizing the value of the area, President Roosevelt acted to protect the land and the archeology in 1906.
Mesa Verde National Park receives over ½ million visitors in a normal year. While always worth the trip, if you can manage a visit off-season, you will feel a bit less crowded.
When you visit Mesa Verde National Park
The most obvious attractions to Mesa Verde are the Cliff Dwelling, but as fascinating are the Mesa Top dwelling sites. So, take the time to follow the map of the different sites. Some have been left in the state they were found, others excavating to display amazing aspects of Pueblo life, and some have been rebuild to show what it was like over 1000 years ago. To help anticipate what you can expect, take a look at the official site.
Here are some of the photos from our trip to Mesa Verde National Park.