Mesa Verde: What to see, when to go, and how long to stay

Mesa Verde is a hidden civilization amongst the mesas of south western Colorado. These ruins were homes to the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians a thousand years ago before abandoning the area. No, they didn’t vanish or get abducted by aliens, they just moved. Completely beautiful, inspiring, and worth the trip, but I was bored after a day.

I’d planned to camp in Mesa Verde for two full days. According to their website, there are several good hiking trails in the park. We figured one day to check out the ruins and another day of hardcore hiking. Turns out while the ruins are amazing, the surrounding country isn’t as much. It’s mostly just grass, juniper, and scrub oak — not the red rock we were expecting. Plus a fire has destroyed much of the trees in the park

If you go, plan on spending a full day seeing the ruins and the museum. The campground is a great place to recharge as it has showers, laundromat, and a small store. But head out the next morning to your next stop. Summer is a good time to visit the area because, although it’s south, the mesas are high enough in elevation to stay cooler.

The view of the top of Weatherhill Mesa.

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