Mesa Verde Country in Southwest Colorado Welcomes Multi-Gen Travelers
Cortez, Colo. – When traveling in a multi-generational group, it can be challenging to find a place that will appeal to everyone. But Mesa Verde Country in Southwest Colorado is a destination that checks all the boxes for travelers of all ages.
“We see many grandparents and parents who grew up coming to Mesa Verde Country and now want to share the wonders of the area with the next generation,” says Brian Bartlett, Executive Director of Mesa Verde Country. “There is something for everyone here, and we are ready to welcome your extended family with open arms.”
From outdoor adventure to history, culture, and archaeology, here are just a few of the ways that multi-gen visitors can enjoy the area’s Western heritage and hospitality.
Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway gives visitors a complete Mesa Verde Country experience along a single roadway. Trail of the Ancients is a 114-mile route across the terrain of the Ancestral Puebloan people that is not only designated as a scenic byway, but also as an America’s Byway by the federal government. Along the route, visitors can see clues about the ancient civilization with cliff dwellings, rock art and pottery sherds. Attractions along the byway include Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park, which both contain dense clusters of remains. The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitors Center and Museum (CANM) in Dolores offers background and interpretive information. One branch of the byway leads to the Four Corners Area, connecting with Utah’s Trail of the Ancients byway.
Mesa Verde National Park – the only park dedicated to preserving the villages and structures hand-built by ancient civilizations – boasts more than 80 square miles to explore. Approximately 600 of the over 5,000 archaeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park are cliff dwellings. Other sites include mesa-top pueblos, farming terraces, towers, reservoirs, and check dams.
The park isn’t the only attraction archaeology-loving explorers will enjoy in Mesa Verde Country. The 125,000-acre Ute Mountain Tribal Park offers tribal member-guided tours of the rock art, cliff dwellings, surface rooms and artifacts. This park was named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century” – one of only nine U.S. destinations to receive the designation.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a rugged and breathtaking 176,000-acre landscape that contains the highest known density of archaeological sites in the U.S. Lowry Pueblo features 40 rooms, eight kivas and a Great Kiva. Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum is the headquarters for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the premier archaeological museum in southwest Colorado.
Hovenweep National Monument includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D 1200-1300. A variety of structures include the multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on borders. Experts think these were used as celestial observatories, defensive structures, storage buildings, homes or a combination thereof.
History & Heritage
The new Montezuma Heritage Museum in Cortez tells the stories and history of the area, including the Native Americans, Spanish and white settlers who have contributed to the diverse culture of the region. The museum’s 2,200-square-feet display area features eight exhibits about the people, places and stories of the region. The museum also includes a research center, genealogy library, and a gift shop.
Housed in a 1909 historic building, the Cortez Cultural Center contains a wealth of information on archaeology and the history of the area’s Native American people. The Center’s museum displays interpretative exhibits about the Native American tribes who’ve called Mesa Verde home, as well as monthly art exhibits that feature local and regional artists. The outdoor plaza hosts Native American dances.
The town of Mancos is the perfect mix of Old West meets artistic charm. Louis L’Amour used the Mancos River Valley as inspiration for his Western novels, and the town still maintains the historic allure captured in his works. There are cattle drives down Main Street, which is lined with artisan galleries, quaint shops, and delicious restaurants. As a town known for its creativity, Mancos artisans craft beer and cider, jewelry and home decor, as well as world-renowned bronze sculptures.
The geographic diversity of Mesa Verde Country’s mountains, mesas, and canyons provides the perfect environment for recreational activities year-round. Hiking, biking, fishing, boating, rafting, golf, horseback riding, hunting, skiing, and snowmobiling are just some of the adventures your brood can enjoy. Whether on foot or horseback, on two wheels or four, on land or water, in snow or sun, the exceptional landscapes of Mesa Verde Country beckon you to create your own outdoor adventure. Mesa Verde Country enjoys a longer season for golf, hiking, and mountain biking than most destinations in Colorado because of the warmer temperatures during the spring and fall seasons. Fishing is possible any time of year and without the crowds!
The Ancestral Puebloans were the first agriculturists in the area, farming the valleys and mesas of Montezuma County, including Mesa Verde National Park, until about 1300 A.D. Growing primarily corn, beans, and squash, they laid the agricultural foundation for today’s farmers, ranchers, and vintners who carry on this long tradition. Shop the Cortez Farmers Market every Saturday from June-October. Eat at one of the areas many farm-to-table restaurants or stop by one of the breweries, cideries, or wineries.
For more information on planning a trip to Mesa Verde Country, call 800-530-2998 or visit www.mesaverdecountry.com.
About Mesa Verde Country (www.mesaverdecountry.com)
Mesa Verde Country is in southwest Colorado near the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. Named the “Number One Historic Monument in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime-The World’s Greatest Destinations” by National Geographic, the park is one of the nation’s first World Heritage sites and the largest archaeological preserve in the country. In addition, Mesa Verde Country is loaded with other archaeological attractions, including: Hovenweep National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum, Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and the Cortez Cultural Center. Mountain biking enthusiasts have recognized Mesa Verde Country as one of the next great mountain biking destinations. The towns of Cortez, Dolores and Mancos provide accommodations, dining, outdoor fun and visitor services. Two national byways pass through Mesa Verde Country. Additionally, Mesa Verde Country has two podcasts that offer an introduction to Southwest Colorado and all its wonders. Download the Ancient Voices Podcast here: https://mesaverdecountry.com/