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Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Colorado is a National Park that needs to be on everyone’s “must see” list – Mesa Verde National Park.

Inhabited by the Anasazi (today referred to as the Ancestral Puebloans) Indians from 600 to 1300, these cliff dwellings are simply amazing. To see how these ancient Indians lived in dwellings built right into the sides of the cliffs is awe-inspiring. The ruins were discovered in 1888 by some cowboys tracking lost cattle. President Theodore Roosevelt named it a national park in 1906 as a way to protect the cliff dwellings.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

I grew up just south of this park, so this wasn’t my first visit, and it most certainly won’t be my last. We only spent one day in the park, but I can definitely see how you could spend more time exploring the ruins and learning about life so many years ago.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

You’ll want to start your visit in the new Visitor’s Center, which opened in December 2012. There you can buy tickets to the tours of the larger ruins, see exhibits, and have any questions answered by rangers. There are a few areas in the park that you can explore on your own, but tickets are required for the two most popular dwellings – Cliff Palace and Balcony House.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Since our time was short and since our group had several babies and young children, we opted to visit the Cliff Palace. There is no way to describe what you see when you first climb up that ladder and look out to see the dwelling, built right into the side of the cliff. It’s amazing to look out from above to see that village, and to hear the ranger tell how the Indians lived. How they grew their crops on top of the mesas, so they would have to climb up to tend to the crops every day. How they brought in water and how they worshiped. It’s pretty amazing to see how they lived and worked back then.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

After the tour of the Cliff Palace, we stopped along the road at a few view points to see even more ruins that could be seen from across the canyon. It truly is an amazing sight.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

We also visited the Spruce Tree House, where you can wander and explore on your own. This dwelling is the third largest in the park, and contains 130 rooms and 8 kivas. Upon discovery, it was quite well preserved because of it’s location in the cliff.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

One of the highlights of visiting the Spruce Tree House is getting to be little more hands on – being able to actually go down into one of the kivas. This is a great ruin to visit if you would rather explore on your own time.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado | www.tasteandtellblog.com

If we would have had more time, I would have loved to drive through more of the park and see the dwellings from the overlooks. But even having a small amount of time was amazing. I will definitely be back again!

Mesa Verde National Park
located one hour east of Cortez, Colorado, or 1 1/2 hours from Durango, Colorado
website

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11 Responses to Mesa Verde National Park – Colorado

  1. How amazing this place is!!! I love your pictures!!!

  2. Deborah says:

    My family recently moved to northern New Mexico, and we have considered a tour of Mesa Verde. After seeing all your wonderful pictures, it has moved to the top of our list! Thanks:)

    • Deborah says:

      Hi Deborah – I grew up in northern New Mexico – in Farmington. I would definitely plan a trip – it’s an amazing site to see!

  3. Doug says:

    Awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing your adventure. I’m going to have to plan a visit now and see this historic place.

  4. Deborah says:

    Okay, same first name, same town…

  5. I love Mesa Verde National Park! So beautiful and fascinating at the same time! It has been years since I last went (at that time I don’t remember having to have tickets to see Cliff Palace) but I have longed to return. This blog post makes me want to visit soon!

  6. Annalise says:

    Great photos, Deb! We were supposed to visit Mesa Verde during a whirlwind national park tour my family did when was younger, except it was closed for wildfire when we drove through. Thanks for the reminder to get it back on my must-see list!

  7. Chels R. says:

    That looks so amazing! I really need to visit more areas in our country!

  8. I’m putting this place on my bucket list for sure !!!! Love the pics!

  9. Joan says:

    Great pictures! I hope to visit the park someday.

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