Travel: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

I was so excited for this day in Albuquerque, New Mexico! We intended to ride the Sandia Park Tramway, but the skies were overcast.  I was really bummed about missing this, but grateful they offer a view from the top via webcam on their site.  It saved us some serious time and money for what wouldn’t have been a very good view.  But, I’m sharing with you, because I still think it’d be a great thing to do if you can.  (Have you been up the tramway? If so, please tell me all about it!)

Okay, moving beyond what we didn’t get to do, we still had a great day! We continued through New Mexico and on in to southwest Colorado.  We went from rain and clouds in New Mexico to sudden snowstorms in Colorado.  It was a quick storm that brought two inches of snow in less than thirty minutes and a fun example for my little crew of how different climate can be across the country.  By the time we reached the Mesa Verde National Park, it was only overcast and slightly drizzly.  After a quick stop in the ranger station, we learned they had a webcam at the cliff dwellings and said we’d have sunny skies when we reached them.  That was great news! 

(Something to keep in mind when traveling to national parks…often the visitor center or attraction you’re there to see is some distance in from the park entrance.  So, while GPS might give you an hour time to the park, by the time you reach the destination it could be another hour.  This information can mostly be found on the National Park websites.  In the case of Mesa Verde National Park, the visitor center was right in from the entrance and the cliff dwellings were another 20-30 minutes in.)

Guys, this place was amazing. We loved it! We visited the Spruce Tree House, toured the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, and made pit stops on the Mesa Top Loop Road.  We walked the somewhat steep trail down to the Spruce Tree House, where there was a ranger on hand to direct us and answer questions.  We were in awe of how the Ancestral Pueblo people created homes and lived among the cliffs.  We learned each cliff dwelling held a community of families.  When a person wanted to travel from one cliff dwelling community to another, they did not climb down or up the cliffs to level ground, but rather traversed the sides of the cliffs like barefoot rock climbers using finger and toe holds they uncovered or created.  The ranger said a network of roads of sorts was created by the Pueblos on the face of the rocks. Isn’t that astounding? 

If you’re in Colorado, you will not regret stopping here. We’ll be spending more time in Colorado, but first, we’re heading to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  My husband and I previously visited there with friends and were super excited to visit again, but with our crew of littles this time.

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