Located in the southwest corner of Colorado, Mesa Verde is one of the most fascinating of the country's National Parks. The natural beauty combined with the mystery of the world famous Anasazi cliff dwellings, plus the attractions of the professional guides and visitors center can easily fill two to three days of exploration. Getting around the park is best by rental car, and checking with national travel deals online will ensure the best rate.
This National Park and World Heritage Site is open year round, but services are limited in the winter months. A car is required to visit the park and its various sites. Inexpensive admission tickets to the different locations can be purchased at the visitorsе center. The tickets allow admission to the expertly guided tours offered several times each day. There is also a museum located 20 miles from the park entrance.
The closest major airport to the park is Denver International Airport (DEN), a major hub of North American air travel and one of the nationеs 10 busiest airports. From there daily services are available to regional airports in Cortez and Durango, Colorado, and Farmington, New Mexico all of which are a one to two hour drive from the park entrance. Your rental car can be picked up on the airport complexes, and you can book online in advance after checking prices with National travel deals.
Far View Lodge sits on a shoulder of the canyon near the visitorsе center. There you can enjoy rustic luxury without telephones or TVs in the otherwise modern rooms, allowing the sounds of nature to be experienced from the private balconies. The lodge has a fine restaurant, and the visitorsе center food court and gift shop are nearby. Lodging, ranging from basic tent spots to RV pull-ins, is also available at campsites nearer the park entrance, and scenic drives in the wildernesses. Car rental allows visitor to explore the beauties here at will.
Though the Native American history in the area attests to 700 years of occupation, the most interesting period of this was the last 75 to 100 years (around 1200 AD). During that time, the people who had been flourishing in communities throughout the area constructed barely accessible stone villages in the huge sheltered alcoves of the canyonеs walls. At the end of the period, these stunning cliff dwellings were abandoned, only to be discovered hundreds of years later.
Scenic drives are one of the highlights of the national park, and car rental is a necessity for seeing every remote treasure of landscape, flora and fauna. Here youеll find a variety of wildlife including deer, black bears, mountain lions, foxes, elk, porcupines and more, perfect for photo opportunities. Birders will be in heaven on walks and hikes, spotting golden eagles, hawks and falcons soaring above the treetops.
Care should be taken when visiting the cave dwellings with their step steps, ladders, and uneven pathways amongst steep cliffs. Drivers will encounter switchback roads, and thereеs only one gas station in the park. Travel insurance with medical cover is recommended.