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Mesa Verde National Park

(4.6/5 based on 2,600+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, trails, museums
Whereas most national parks are primarily devoted to showcasing unique and special landscapes, Mesa Verde National Park focuses on ancient human habitation. The Ancestral Pueblo people lived in this area from AD 600 to 1300, and the park today preserves about 600 of the dwellings they built into the khaki-colored sandstone. Five of these are open to the public through guided and self-guided tours. Many visitors head for Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America, and is accessible only via ranger-guided tour. The park offers a series of hiking trails, which allow visitors to explore other areas independently. Some of these hikes provide views of dwellings not open to visitors. The arid climate supports woodlands and shrub communities, and wildlife such as black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, and elk. The main draw to Mesa Verde, however, remains its archaeological significance. To personalize your trip to Mesa Verde National Park, create itinerary details specific to you using our United States tour planner.
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Where to stay in Mesa Verde National Park

The Far View Lodge provides a comfortable place to sleep inside Mesa Verde National Park. The well-appointed rooms here do not include televisions, encouraging guests to focus their attention instead on the surrounding nature. The lodge often fills up on summer weekends, so reserve ahead if you plan to stay during this time. The park's large Morefield Campground, on the other hand, almost always has space available. The town of Cortez, with its plentiful inns and motels just northwest of the park, serves as a convenient base. A bit further east of the park, Durango provides a greater array of accommodations in a historical Old West setting.
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