Even though Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings are crumbling and looters stole most of the ancient artificats from the city, the cliff city of the Pueblo Native Americans still astounds people 800 years after their creation.
The Pueblo began to build their city in times of plenty, around the 1200’s. During a drought in the early 1300’s the Pueblo abandoned the cliff dwellings. It was discovered by whites in the 1880’s and were quickly robbed, looted, and plundered. Soon after, fortunately, a National Park was created around the site. The arid climate and shelter from the cliffs themselves have beautifully and ornately preserved the dwellings.
The site is in Four Corners country (between Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico). You can climb steep ladders and crawl through tunnels to see the largest cliff dwelling in North America first-hand. This is not for those afraid of heights or small tight spaces however. The highest point is at 8,572 feet above the ground! Tours are available for history buffs.
Admission is $10 per car and the nearest hotel is the Far View Lodge, where rooms cost up to $102 a night. You can also camp out in the park for a nominal fee. The park is open year-round. There are fewer crowds in April to June, but in July, there is a Mesa Verde Indian Arts Festival, which is always a crowd-pleaser.