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Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.
Established by Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the park occupies 52,485 acres (21,240 ha) near the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. With more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, it is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. Mesa Verde (Spanish for "green table") is best known for structures such as Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.
Starting c. 7500 BC Mesa Verde was seasonally inhabited by a group of nomadic Paleo-Indians known as the Foothills Mountain Complex. The variety of projectile points found in the region indicates they were influenced by surrounding areas, including the Great Basin, the San Juan Basin, and the Rio Grande Valley. Later, Archaic people established semi-permanent rock shelters in and around the mesa. By 1000 BC, the Basketmaker culture emerged from the local Archaic population, and by 750 AD the Ancestral Puebloans had developed from the Basketmaker culture.
The Mesa Verdeans survived using a combination of hunting, gathering, and subsistence farming of crops such as corn, beans, and squash. They built the mesa's first pueblos sometime after 650, and by the end of the 12th century, they began to construct the massive cliff dwellings for which the park is best known. By 1285, following a period of social and environmental instability driven by a series of severe and prolonged droughts, they abandoned the area and moved south to locations in Arizona and New Mexico, including Rio Chama, Pajarito Plateau, and Santa Fe.
Mesa Verde Tour Experience Reviews
We did the 700 tour. Amazing. Holly was a great tour guide. I like the way we made stops to comprehend the basics. Eventually we got to walk through the largest cliff dwelling. 90% of the people on... more »
After seeing a negative review of the 700 year tour, we were apprehensive. However, our tour guide, Carolyn, a former NPS ranger, was an expert in all the sites on the tour and really did an... more »
Love it,take plenty of water if your hiking y'all. If you are planning to camp,please be aware that there is wild life in the area,so coolers and food have to stay inside your trailer,camper or vehicle.The Deer were all around campground it's worth it to see the fawns.
We arrived too late in the day to get your tickets to see the ruins up close, but we had sufficient time to drive to viewpoints of most of the ruins. We had a nice hike to one set of ruins that didn't require tickets, and enjoyed the wonderful engineering that was used to create these sites.
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Duration:1 h 30 min
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21 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular sights PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 5 days in Mesa Verde National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Mesa Verde National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, historic sites, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, kids, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium