CO – Mesa Verde NP, Chapin Mesa . . . take a step back in time

In my previous post I shared photos from the hikes I took near Morefield Campground (link to related post). When I wasn’t hiking, I was sightseeing along the Mesa Top and Cliff Palace Loops. Far View Terrace and Wetherill Mesa Roads weren’t open yet. I stopped at all the designated points of interest, hiked all the associated trails, and viewed the exhibits. It was early season so there wasn’t much congestion and I was able to fully enjoy everything over the course of a long day. I’m glad I dedicated a day to this area.

Mesa Top Loop Drive

This is a 6-mile drive where you can see a progression of homes and religious structures of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived her for more than six centuries.

Cliff Palace

According to NPS literature, “Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America, with 150 rooms, 75 open spaces and 21 kivas.” I’m disappointed tours weren’t yet being offered during my visit. In the future I’ll make obtaining a reservation a priority.

Balcony House

This is a well preserved unit worthy of a tour. This is a 30-room, 2-kiva structure.

Spruce Tree House

I’m grateful I was able to join a tour in 2015, especially now that it’s closed for the foreseeable future (related post).

From my 2015 visit. Getting to view up close was an incredible experience.

Back to today’s visit. This ruin includes 120 rooms, 8 kivas and 2 towers.

While in the vicinity, I decided to hike the trails.

Far View

Bonus

What happens when you spend extended time in a Park, chat with the rangers, and visit/hike all open points of interest, roads and trails? You just might earn an honorary Junior Ranger badge. Lucky me! 

Adventure Date(s):

  • April 9, 2018

Tips:

  • If at all possible get tickets for the tours. Thus far my timing has been off but oh how I want to get the up close and personal view plus hear the stories. 
  • Buy the interpretive guides. They are well worth the minimal price.
  • Plan for plentiful walking and hiking opportunities. The miles will add up in a good way.

Resources:

Links:

 

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