Mesa Verde: 10 Cool Facts about Colorado’s Amazing National Park
The driving tour on Mesa Top Loop Road is a great way to view some of the best features in the park at your own pace. Guided tours and hikes to the cliff dwellings are also available via the park's website.
Where is Mesa Verde National Park?
Mesa Verde National Park is located on U.S. Route 160 east of Cortez, Colorado. It's about a 20-minute drive from the front gate into the park before you get to the cliff dwellings. You'll pass lodges, restaurants, and gift shops on the way in. Make a pit stop before you start the tours.
What Happened to the Ancient Puebloans?
Mesa Verde is believed to have been inhabited mainly between about 600 A.D to 1300 A.D. The inhabitants relied heavily on rainfall and snow for water. The Puebloans are believed to have been hit by a drought that lasted more than 20 years before it finally forced them to move on. It must have been difficult to leave all that hard work behind.
Must-See at Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde was certified as the world's 100th International Dark Sky Park. Find out more about the park's night sky programs here.
Luminaria Open House at Mesa Verde is another breathtaking event usually held in the winter. Paper lanterns are placed inside the ancient dwellings, and the warm glow from the lanterns brings the Ancient Puebloans back to life for the evening.