There are places in the world that make you scratch your head and wonder how on earth anyone managed to build it.
Visiting Mesa Verde, and seeing all of these grand palaces and villages built at the edge of massive cliff, was certainly mind boggling.
Standing a far, and looking down at the structures, felt like we were staring at a miniature city.
It wasnt until we spotted the tiny crowds making their way through them how grand the structure really was.
After purchasing tickets in the main visitors center at the entrance of the park we were scheduled to join a ranger guided tour down to the Cliff Palace.
It was quite the adventurous trek just managing to get down the paved trails.
Once we arrived at the bottom we were in awe of this remarkable village.
The details and the structures still standing in almost perfect condition after hundreds of years – truly wow!
I was also blown away by the substantial size of the dwelling, much bigger than expected from looking at it from above.
I could not help but imagine what it looked like during its prime with the Ancestral Puebloans working together to run it.
After exploring and receiving historical information from our guide, we were lead back up through a ladder placed in the crevasse of a rock.
This was definitely the trickiest and most thrilling part of the whole journey.
With no safety railing in place or a landing nearby, it felt a little nerve-racking and at times even scary.
Luckily our oldest was able to climb up with no problem while my husband did his best to fit in between the cracks with our son in the carrier.
After the adrenaline rush subsided we drove around the park and made a few stops along the way.
First off we grabbed some food at the Spruce Cafe followed by hiking down to the Spruce House village.
I think this was our daughter’s favorite stop since she could freely climb up and down the pit house bellow.
While it was a short easy hike getting to the dwelling the hard part was climbing back up as the path is actually pretty steep.
We were told it was a stroller-friendly hike but we definitely regretted having to climb back up pushing a stroller so I would not recommend doing that.
Lastly, we stopped for a quick moment at the Sun Temple before taking in the majestic sight of the Square Tower House from the cliff overlook.
Although there was more to see and do, our kiddos at the time were pretty young and after being in the car for a few hours they were ready to be done.
While our day seemed to be cut short, we left equally impressed and amazing by the things we saw and experienced that day.
It was truly mind-bottling how anyone could built such structures in extremely remote locations, and the fact that they did it with limited tool makes it even more remarkable.
Suggestions for visiting Mesa Verde National Park:
-The entrance fee to the Mesa Verde National Park is $15.00 per car from Memorial Day to Labor Day and $10.00 per car for the rest of the year.
-While enjoying a great view of the Cliff Palace from above is free and can be easily accessed from the main parking, you will need to book a reservation ahead of time to join a tour group to be able to go inside. You can find the options for the different types of tours and prices on their main site here.
-As you can see we chose to bring a carrier with us as opposed to a stroller. While the main parts of the park are paved and well outlined we knew that a carrier was a much better option for hiking and exploring off the beaten paths.
-Since we visited, I have heard that young children are no longer allowed to go down to the Cliff Palace. If you are interested in visiting with little ones, be sure to call and find out ahead of time what their current age restrictions are.
-The main sites to see at the National Park include the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Spruce Tree House, and Wetherill Mesa (Long House & Step House). Of course there is much more to see so be sure to plan your trip ahead of time so you can map out your favorite point of interest.
-Something that was not available when we visited was the Mesa Verde National Park Mobile App. Such a brilliant idea as it contains GPS-enabled maps that will guide you through 20 points of interest through out the park. As cell service and Wi-Fi are limited in the park they strongly encourage visitors to download the app before arriving. To find out more information about the app go here.
I hope this article can inspire you and help you plan your next trip to Mesa Verde.
We definitely recommend making your way to this memorable National Park full of history and beauty.
It’s sure to amaze the whole family!
For more family adventures in National Parks click here.
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