Mesa Verde Country
Area Day Trips
One spectacular site after another will fascinate and nurture you. Whether located on wide open plains or perched high in cliff faces - each site will intrigue you and you will feel a human connection. As you wander these same paths, travel through these same forests, and wonder at these same endless skies, Mesa Verde Country® will reward you with adventure at every turn:
- Hovenweep National Monument - Known for its unique square, oval, circular and D-shaped towers, Hovenweep National Monument is located west of Cortez on the Colorado-Utah border.
- Ute Tribal Park - Often referred to as "The Other Mesa Verde", the Ute Tribal Park contains spectacular cliff dwellings in a remote and "undisturbed" setting. This off-the-beaten track experience is led by Ute Indian guides who interpret the Ancestral Puebloan archaeology, Ancestral Puebloan and Ute rock art, and the more recent history of the Ute people in this area. The mystical feeling on this tour is that you are the first to walk on these ancient pathways and view these ancient sites.
- Anasazi Heritage Center - The Anaszi Heritage Center interprets the history and culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people and is a "must see" for Mesa Verde Country® visitors. The Center features ancient pottery, interactive displays, changing exhibits, and special events, as well as two 12th century archaeological sites and a short interpretative walk.
- Upper Delores Valley, Rico, and The Meadows - The headwaters of the Dolores River are high in the San Juan Mountains near Lizard Head Pass. This lazy day trip follows the river upstream to the beautiful West Fork Valley, past the Dunton Hot Springs Resort. You then travel through the Meadows and tall aspens to meet Highway 145 above Rico. This day trip is especially spectacular in the fall.
- McPhee Lake - McPhee Lake is the second largest lake in Colorado and offers great fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and relaxing. There are fisherman access points, boat ramps, picnic and recreation areas all around the lake. The lake overlook offers a 360-degree panorama of four states and several mountain ranges.
- Trail of the Ancients - The Trail of the Ancients is a new 114-mile scenic/historic by-way in Southwest Colorado highlighting the long and intriguing occupation of the area by Native American peoples. This area is truly the archaeological heartland of America, and takes you on a journey from the past to the future, and from adventure to understanding.
- Canyons of the Ancients - Canyons of the Ancients, declared a National Monument in 2000, cover almost 164,000 acres of high desert in the southwestern corner of Colorado. This area has the highest known archaeological site density in the nation, but many of the sites are in remote backcountry and most are covered with vegetation. The Visitor Center for the Canyons of the Ancients is located at the Anasazi Heritage Center, just outside Dolores, Colorado.
To learn more about these day trips and upcoming activities in the area, visit Mesa Verde Country website.