Mesa Verde is one of the most unusual and historic National Parks in our country. Did you know that this National Park has over 600 pueblos built into the cliff walls that date back to roughly 1190? That means these dwellings are about 800 years old! They are definitely the oldest homes I have ever seen. You can actually go on guided tours to visit several of these dwellings. However, we were not able to do so, as they are built into cliff walls and require walking up steep, tall ladders to tour them (not exactly ideal for two-year old twins). We were able to hike several areas of the park though and view the cliff dwellings from bluffs across from the dwellings. They are amazing! Well worth the visit to see and experience this history first hand. The park is located in Colorado and is only a few hours from Moab, UT. If we were to go back and the twins were older we would try to do the Cliff House 1-hour tour and the Balcony House 1-hour tour. Tours are only $4 a person, but you can’t make reservations in advance. You can only buy tickets at Mesa Verda, and only up to 2 days prior to the tour you want to book. My advice is to arrive when the visitor center opens at 7am and get the exact tickets you want for that day before they are sold out. They restrict the number of visitors that can tour these cliff dwellings so they can ensure preservation of the archeological sites.
This National Park is in the desert, so if you visit be sure to bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and dress for the heat. The park is open year round, but the best time to visit is in the summer months, as some parts of the Park close during the winter. Allow yourself time to do some hiking while there, as there some beautiful trails. We did some hiking with our group of ten, mostly children, and it the views were awesome!
Below are the photos I took while at Mesa Verde. We only spent a half day at the park, as we were coming from Albuquerque and traveling on to Ridgway, CO. Great visit with perfect weather! It was quite interesting seeing these dwellings and it made me wonder how they survived. Out in a dessert, with very little water, and on top of it building these incredible dwellings into cliff walls. The Indians who lived and survived there were remarkable people, who obviously worked hard and were quite resourceful. Prior to the cliff dwellings they lived in Pit Houses- homes dug into the dessert rock with tents built above the pits. Some of the pit houses are preserved at Mesa Verde as well.