The Southwest part of Colorado is filled with some amazing archaeological resources and parks. Mesa Verde has always been on of my favorite National Parks and it was great to get back there again. We started our day at the Visitor Center to make sure that we could get tickets for some of the best Ranger guided tours. In order to visit the best ruins at this park you must be on one of the Ranger led tours, which require reservations and a ticket to attend. My first question was “can we do all three tours in one day?” (Typical tourist question!) And because we were early the answer was yes! The drive into the park and up onto the Mesa was a good 30-45 minutes just to get to the larger ruins and the tours so doing all three in one day was a much better option. The tours involved climbing ladders and in one case crawling trough tunnels and steep drop off ledges. So unfortunately this heights challenged traveler had to pass on the Balcony House tour and let Matt go by himself.
The Cliff Palace tour was the crown jewel of the park. It is amazing to see so much of this site preserved for visitors to enjoy. Imagine one of our buildings still standing after 800+ years……
The National Park Service does a good job of managing and interpreting to the millions of visitors that visit the park every year.
Cliff Palace ruins…….
Our last tour was up on Wetherill Mesa where we hiked with the Ranger to Long House ruins.
This is a much less visited ruin site as it involves a long drive up a winding road and a hike of over a mile each way into the site. It was definitely worth the effort and made for a good wrap up of the park and the day.