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Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

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Miami, Florida
posts: 169
reviews: 25
Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

We have 3 nights planned at Mesa Verde. We were thinking about cutting back to two nights and then spending the next day going to the Chaco Cultural Center. However, if we keep the three nights at Mesa Verde and visit the Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center on our way out of the area, will we be getting much of the same experience? Thank you.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,620
reviews: 35
1. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

Chaco Canyon is a totally different experience than the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores. Chaco is very remote via dirt roads, but incredible ruins. You would need a full day and there are few lodging options nearby.

2 nights at Mesa Verde NP should be enough to see the entire park. If you keep the 3rd night, you may want to look at going on a tour of Ute Mtn Ute Tribal Park, remote ruins that have not been seen by many! www.utemountainute.com/tribalpark.htm

Also a visit to Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients as well as the Anasazi Heritage Center will give you more insight into the prehistory of the area.

To see a reconstructed Great Kiva from Chacoan era visit Aztec Nat Mon south of Durango in Aztec New Mexico.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
posts: 2,849
reviews: 60
2. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

A stop at Chimney Rock between Durango and Pagosa Spr. may also be of interest and is easier to reach than Chaco or Hovenweep. A stop at the Heritage Center is very worthwhile.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 7,547
reviews: 83
3. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

I second the idea of Aztec Ruins National Monument. It is very interesting, a Chaco outlier that predates Mesa Verde, if I remember correctly. If you go there, you might stop at the Southern Ute Cultural Center in Ignacio, too.

I haven't been to the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, but it is sure on my wish list.

The Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores is an interesting stop, but can be explored in a hour or so. The Cortez Cultural Center is also worth a visit, especially if you are spending a night in Cortez. They have different programs most evenings during the summer, such as Indian dancers, the play Black Shawl, etc.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
posts: 3,987
reviews: 158
4. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

If you are driving a rental vehicle the Chaco Canyon is probably not a good idea. The only road in from the north (from Cortez) has 13 miles of rough dirt road. If you come from the south the road can be either very rough or impassable. www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/directions.htm

Most rental contracts have verbage limiting driving to pavement and if you were to have any problems on the road to Chaco Canyon the bill for roadside asstance/towing and/or repairs could ruin a good trip.

Miami, Florida
posts: 169
reviews: 25
5. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

Thanks for the ideas. We will have a rental and probably will have the restriction mentioned. If we go to Chaco is anyone aware of any other transportation options that are available from the the north?

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
posts: 3,987
reviews: 158
6. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

Since Chaco Canyon is in New Mexico you might want to post that question in that forum. The NPS website I posted in my prior post states there is no public transportation to the site but perhaps someone on the NM forum might know of another option. Since it does take a whole day imho you might want to seriously consider other options. Northern NM has tons of interesting things, 19 Pueblo tribes in addition to lots of easily accessible ruins. One of the nice ones is the Aztec Ruins National Monument. It's just south of Farmington and easy to get to.

http://www.nps.gov/azru/index.htm

We used to live in NM and did a lot of this type of stuff, miss that and the wonderful people (and food).

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,620
reviews: 35
7. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

You can get a tour of Chaco Canyon from the folks at Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield. http://www.chacotours.org/

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
posts: 2,849
reviews: 60
8. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

I visited Chaco as a day trip from Durango and found it rewarding, but a fair amount of driving. I found that it helped my understanding as to how the Ancients lived.

P.S. I drove my rental car carefully to Chaco, Hovenweep and to many sites in Canyon of the Ancients. Those at the Heritage Center in Dolores will helpyou with directions and road conditions.

There were school busses on the gravel road to Chaco.

Edited: 4:36 pm, January 02, 2013
9. Re: Cortez Anasaci Heritage Center

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