Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado
Sacred Palaces in the Rocks
Mesa Verde National Park is located in southwestern Colorado. The size of the national park is 210 km². Mesa Verde means “green mountain”. Over 600 ruined dwellings have been found in Mesa Verde so far. They were mostly built under overhanging sand rocks. The apartments were built by the Pueblo Indians (Anasazi) with mud bricks, some of them several stories high. The settlements in their current form probably came into being in the 12th century and later.
Uphill access to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado
Native Americans left the settlements
According to Anycountyprivateschools, Mesa Verde was probably abandoned by the Native Americans during a long dry spell. It is estimated, however, that Native Americans stayed in the Mesa Verde area much earlier and lived there in such pueblos. This green, forested table mountain, in the middle of a somewhat barren, desert-like landscape in Colorado, has certainly served as a place of residence for many peoples.
Cliff Palace und Balcony House
The most famous cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park are the Balcony House, Long House and Cliff Palace, which can be visited as part of a guided tour by park rangers. Cliff Palace is the largest and most imposing of the accessible rock dwellings with around 200 rooms. There are meeting places (kivas), houses and towers. Some areas can only be reached by means of a ladder. One should not fail to look at the rock dwellings from a distance first, so that one can better appreciate their dimensions and location.
Cliff Palace Tour – Mesa Verde
From the Chapin-Mesa – Museum in Mesa Verde National Park you can reach the not far away, well-preserved Spruce Tree House. The accessible rock dwellings are a bit apart, so you should find out exactly where you can find which ruin site. Many of the rock dwellings are protected from visitors and inaccessible to avoid destruction.
Cultural Historic Region in Colorado
Several protected areas with lower protection status are in close proximity to Mesa Verde. These are the Aztec Ruins, Canyon de Chelly and Hovenweep. The driveway to the famous rock dwellings of Mesa Verde leads from the entrance of the national park on a winding road over 15 km up to the plateau of Mesa Verde. On the way you can already enjoy the view over the plains of Colorado.
Cliff Palace – Mesa Verde National Park ruins
Mesa Verde hit by fire
Fire has repeatedly destroyed portions of Mesa Verde’s forests. Therefore, it is possible to have to pass large areas with charred tree corpses during the driveway. So far, the nature of Mesa Verde has always recovered from the fires. The ruin sites were not permanently damaged by the fire rollers. The fire even uncovered archaeological sites that were previously unknown.
National park as protection against destruction of cultural treasures
Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906. Mesaverde has had UNESCO World Heritage status since 1978. The closest town in Colorado is Cortez, the Four Corners are very close by. By the way, Table Mountain got its current name from the Spanish “discoverers”. The special feature of the Mesa Verde National Park is that cultural testimonies of mankind are protected here and not primarily nature. The first white settlers after the Spanish arrived in the area in 1874. Much was destroyed and plundered by them. Eventually, the Mesa Verde National Park had to be established to protect the historical evidence.
Animals and Plants of Mesa Verde
The green oasis of Mesaverde is also home to many animal and plant species. Mule deer are there, bears and mountain lions are suspected there. Nearly 200 bird species have been identified in Mesa Verde National Park. There are also snakes and smaller reptiles in the area of the national park. The most common trees in Mesa Verde National Park are conifers, pines, junipers, and pines.
Camping in Mesa Verde National Park
In Mesa Verde National Park you can use the Morefield campground. There are 400 parking spaces available. Campgrounds are also available in the cities of Cortez and Durango outside of the national park. If you like it more comfortable, you are in good hands in a hotel nearby.