Literally meaning the ‘green table’, Mesa Verde is the Spanish name given to the World Heritage site in the Montezuma province, which is a national park covered in juniper as well as pinon trees. This is the 81.4-square-mile park whose main attractions are surprisingly neither the green scenes nor the wildlife, but are the series of ruined hamlets as well as dwellings, which were erected by the Pueblo people known as the Anasazi. In short, the Mesa Verse National Park is the probing home of over 4,000 archaeological locations. As per the study, the villages of stones date back to 1200 A.D for sheltering the ancient folks.
Apart from the legendary sites, the area is also the appealing home of more than 500 superb cliffs dwellings that are considered as among the America’s most notable structures located in caves as well as under projections, farming terraces, mesa top pueblos, check dams, reservoirs, and towers. Almost all the carved houses as well as the well-maintained cliff dwellings reside in shallow caves or along the canyon walls under the rock outcrops. Other structures that you see here the typical Pueblo forms such as pit houses as well as kivas. All structures that lie in the niches seems to be erected with the hard sandstone blocks as well as adobe mortar.
Despite of so many cliff dwellings as well as structures, it was observed by the experts that not all inhabitants used to live in dwellings of cliff. In fact, several people resided in the canyon slopes as well as edges where multi-family edifices were found in incredible sizes and in sandstone/mortar built-up along with the T-shaped windows, doors, as well as decorative motifs in the general style of the Pueblos having some spiritual significance.
Once you are in the Mesa Verde National Park, look for the standard cliff house called the Mug House that was the home of 100 people living in 94 rooms of small size as well as eight kivas with shared walls. This one is on the Wetherill Mesa where you can also see a big kiva, masonry pilasters, and simple walls along with a keyhole shape, fireplace, deflector, and rooms around the kiva, and a courtyard. Next, hunt for the North America’s largest cliff dwelling called the Cliff Palace that is also the most popular structure in the Mesa Verde National Park. Here, you will come across 150 known rooms, over 20 kivas, and some great architectural design showing off a rich long history of art. Experts seem to suspect a lot more at this site due to which the digging since the last century has not yet ended.
Take a twist and move on the Chapin Mesa where one more well-maintained cliff dwelling can be seen – Spruce Tree House. Here, you will easily spot a restored roof as well as a kiva that you can enter into. As per the evidences found here, this was populated for not more than 100 years, which is also applicable for the other dwellings in the park. The next attraction is the Square Tower House – the tallest structure in the park to be inhabited between 1200 and 1300 AD.
Do also explore the Balcony House that was initially found in 1884 by S.E. Osborn. This is evident in the information with the date visible in the nearby structure. And lastly, explore the Mesa Verde Reservoirs – the engineering feat of the Pueblos, which are now a National Civil Engineering Historic Landmark.
In the Mesa Verde National Park, there is only one option for you: The Far View Lodge that promises spectacular vistas of the area. For those who love peace, this is the best comfortable place to live where it is very easy to not only have the panoramic views, but it is also possible to watch the wildlife as well as the night sky shinning with the clear looking stars. And that, it is only from here that you can join a guided tour to experience rafting in Durango as well as exploring Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad along with gift shops selling the native craft works.
The Morefield Campground is just the best place for camping in the stunning canyon backdrop. You can reach here from the entrance of the park by walking for a distance of 4.5 miles. And expect a variety of affordable camping options.
$15.00 per car from Memorial to Labor Day