Report of our 3-week trip in October, started in Zion National Park forum. We are newly retired couple traveling with 2 dogs and a 5th wheel trailer.
Day 12 (October 11): Today we drove south from Moab. At Monticello we turned onto a different highway and headed east into Colorado. We would be camping 2 nights at Mesa Verde National Park. We had reservations here, but wouldn't have needed them as the campground was pretty empty. This was the only time on our trip that we hit bad weather. It was drizzling a bit when we stopped in Cortez and the Welcome Center to buy our hiking tickets. We purchased tickets for the Balcony House and Cliff Palace hikes. The road up into Mesa Verde is very steep and twisty. The whole park area has been plagued with fires over the past 10 years, so it's pretty bare and ugly. The Morefield Campground in Mesa Verde is a nice campground, but set right in the middle of a barren fire-burned area. This afternoon we took the Cliff Palace hike (left the dogs in the truck). It was raining a little, but we were still able to take the hike. It was SPECTACULAR! I had always wanted to see the cliff dwellings. It was all I imagined and more. Our guide was wonderful. They allowed plenty of time to explore the dwellings and answered all our questions.
DAY 13 (October 12): We woke up in camp to a thin layer of snow on the ground. There had been lightning and thunder right over us all night. It was pretty dramatic, especially being camped at this extremely high elevation on a burned-out plateau. We had tickets for the Balcony House hike, but it was cancelled due to the weather (too slippery). We could have got a refund, but chose not to since it wasn't expensive and we figured the national parks deserve all the money they can bring in. We spent the day exploring the nice museum in the park. We ate dinner at the very nice Metate Room - surprisingly upscale for a restaurant in the middle of a remote national park. The snow stopped by mid-morning, but it was pretty wet and rainy most of the day.
Day 14 (October 13): left Colorado and headed back into Utah. Our next destination was Goosenecks State Park in Utah (see the rest of the trip report in the Utah forums).