Mesa Verde National Park, Mesa Verde National Park

4.7
#2 of 10 in Parks in Mesa Verde National Park
National Park · Nature / Park
Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.

Established by Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the park occupies 52,485 acres (21,240 ha) near the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. With more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, it is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. Mesa Verde (Spanish for "green table") is best known for structures such as Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.

Starting c. 7500 BC Mesa Verde was seasonally inhabited by a group of nomadic Paleo-Indians known as the Foothills Mountain Complex. The variety of projectile points found in the region indicates they were influenced by surrounding areas, including the Great Basin, the San Juan Basin, and the Rio Grande Valley. Later, Archaic people established semi-permanent rock shelters in and around the mesa. By 1000 BC, the Basketmaker culture emerged from the local Archaic population, and by 750 AD the Ancestral Puebloans had developed from the Basketmaker culture.

The Mesa Verdeans survived using a combination of hunting, gathering, and subsistence farming of crops such as corn, beans, and squash. They built the mesa's first pueblos sometime after 650, and by the end of the 12th century, they began to construct the massive cliff dwellings for which the park is best known. By 1285, following a period of social and environmental instability driven by a series of severe and prolonged droughts, they abandoned the area and moved south to locations in Arizona and New Mexico, including Rio Chama, Pajarito Plateau, and Santa Fe.
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Mesa Verde National Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
223 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • The drive into the park is about 23 miles before you actually get to the cliff dwellings, but well worth the drive. Steep inclines and amazing views. The Pueblos were so cool and to see the...  more »
  • Unfortunately Visitor Center and tours were closed due to covid but I was able to get a good idea of what this park was about. I stayed at the lodge within the park and had a great View. I believe I.....  more »
Google
  • Awesome! Unfortunately the largest dwelling was closed due to rock slides. That being said, we didn't have much time so we only went to one dwelling. We will return when we have more time. It was still a great stop!!
  • Just go! You have to do a few of the tours to really get something out of this place. I also stayed at the lodge one night and the campground on another both were fantastic. I got a camp spot with lots of privacy even though they are very close. Lots of bathrooms, I had 2 in easy walking distance. The showers and laundry are all the way up at the store but not that bad of a walk if you are in the front tent spots. The rooms at the lodge are quirky(which I love) but very clean and what a view, even in the non view rooms. I ate at the lounge and had a fresh tasty salad with salmon added that was cooked perfect and a well made margarita with patron. It is a real full bar. I did try to eat at the far view terrace but that was a hot mess.... the only thing in the park I would give an F rating. There was no real line so at least 20 people were shoved against the counter yelling at 2 poor cooks trying to make their food, I walked out. But the very best thing about this park are the rangers. I didn't meet one that wasn't funny. I will definitely be going back just for the lodge.

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