Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mesa Verde

Continuing with our Southwestern Indigenous Tribes theme, we recently visited Mesa Verde National Park. We have been reading a fictional mystery book set at this park, which added to the fun of exploring the park. Mesa Verde is another park that you have to drive through some pretty mountain roads through. Patsy drove the van again this time because we were clued into this fact. She is doing better and better with these mountain roads, but still feels uneasy about taking Howard on too many hairpin turns.

I visited Mesa Verde as a kid with my family, but it was the first visit for the rest of our clan. It is one of those places every kid should see. I wonder how much longer the National Park Service is going to let people explore in these old ruins? I say take advantage of the opportunity while it still exists!

We explored two of the cliff dwellings that were originally built by ancestral Pueblan people nearly 900 years ago! The first sit we visited was Cliff Palace which is a ranger-led walk with a ranger talking way over the head of four and five year olds. The boys did pretty good considering the tour was an hour and the ranger talked the whole time. They did enjoy looking around the ruins and walking up steep stone stairways and climbing wooden ladders to descend to and ascend from the site.

Then we went to Spruce Tree House where the exploring was more free range. The best part of this site for our kids was climbing down inside a Kiva, sort of an underground gathering center for the ancient Native Americas who built them. We also did the the junior ranger program here. Chase was amazed that yet again we visited another place where the Indian children did not wear clothes in the pictures!

We saw a bit of wildlife here including some wild horses, wild turkey, mule deer, turkey vultures, canyon wrens, Stellar Jays, a rock squirrel and the ever present ravens.


  1. Great post! We are just outside of Arches National Park in a FREE campground which I will post about hopefully tonight if you are interested. I am behind a bit in case you are headed his way. Save a few $ while exploring Arches, Canyonland and Moab. We are on our way to Mesa Verde tomorrow :) We are so happy that these ruins let you in to explore. The others we have been to on this trip (Montezuma Castle and Paltiki) haven't let you anywhere near them.

  2. We should meet up if you guys are close! We are Great Dunes tonight.

  3. We are still in Moab tonight and heading to Mesa Verde tomorrow as we stayed an extra night here to go rafting and then a lightning storm cancelled it today :( I'll go look up where Great Dunes is and see. It would be great to ge together!

  4. Which direction are you headed afer Great Dunes? I just looked it up and we are heading to NM right after Mesa Verde to go to Taos, Jemez Springs, Sante Fe and a RV repair in Albuquerque, Truh or Consequence, Demming, White Sands, Roswell, Carlsbad then on to Texas. I think you've already traveled alot of our route.

  5. Opposite direction - to Denver and Colorado springs area! :( Maybe another time. We hit most of those places p stop by Los Alamos if you get a chance!


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