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Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

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Bolingbrook...
Destination Expert
for New Mexico, Albuquerque, Santa Fe
posts: 2,405
reviews: 133
Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

I'm planning on a three night camping visit to Mesa Verde NP from July 3-6 in 2012. That will give me 2 full days in the park.

I'm sure that I can't see/do everything I'd like to in those two days, so I would appreciate some help priortizing what is best to see/do.

Definites include getting tickets for Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House when I arrive on Wednesday night July 3. (Obviously I can't "plan" my days or route until I know when I can do these tours.)

Other options of interest include:

Mesa Top Loop Road with 12 sites/stops

Cliff Palace Loop Road with overlooks

Spruce Tree House

Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum

Far View Sites Complex

Mesa Top Tower and Kiva

Wetherill Mesa Road

Step House

Badger House Trail

Thanks for any guidance.

Keith

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,420
reviews: 34
1. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

Ok Keith...here's my ideas. Also see my post on Road Trips!

With 2 full days you can easily plan around your cliff dwelling tours. Day 1 focus on Chapin Mesa (where Spruce Tree House, Cliff Palace, Balcony House are located). Day 2 go to Wetherill Mesa and see Long House, Step House and Badger Community.

Mesa Top Loop Road with 12 sites/stops - stop at them all.

Cliff Palace Loop Road with overlooks

Spruce Tree House - I would visit in the morning and hike a bit down the canyon. The birds singing are incredible.

Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum - takes about an hour or so. Also in the area is a picnic area which used to be the old campground (also look around for the old ampitheater)

Far View Sites Complex - my favorite place. Hike around and out to the "reservoir"

Mesa Top Tower and Kiva - not sure what this is. Possibly Cedar Tree Tower. Before the last big fire there was a beautiful cedar tree over this small ruin. All gone now, but I have photos, video and memories of this place!

Wetherill Mesa Road, Step House, Badger House Trail and Long House tour on the 2nd day.

Bolingbrook...
Destination Expert
for New Mexico, Albuquerque, Santa Fe
posts: 2,405
reviews: 133
2. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

Thanks Casa! So very helpful. (And feeding my need to plan!)

I'm pretty sure that Mesa Top Tower and Kiva is Cedar Tree Tower. Maybe they're in the process of renaming it?

Keith

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
posts: 3,927
reviews: 156
3. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

The Mesa Verde website is a great resource also. Here is the link to that - www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

From the info there it does sound like the Mesa Top Tower and Cedar Tree Tower are the same, if I read it correctly.

Also check out their online brochure at nps.gov/meve/…visitorguide_summerfall12.pdf - it's the 2012 version for now but will undoubtedly be updated once the Congress decides the budget.

Hope you have a great trip.

Edited: 11:42 am, January 02, 2013
Chicago
posts: 381
reviews: 115
4. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

If you like hiking, we really enjoyed the Petroglyph Point hike. It starts near Spruce House and you hike along the rim of the mesa, ending up at a large petroglyph panel. It's about 2.8 miles and it gets you away from the crowds and let's you see the physical beauty of the area. There are no cliff dwellings involved, however.

Bolingbrook...
Destination Expert
for New Mexico, Albuquerque, Santa Fe
posts: 2,405
reviews: 133
5. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

Thanks SusieLou. Actually I got my list of possibilities from their website. But of course they don't help you choose between things! This thread (and another on the Road Trips forum) have been really helpful.

Thanks jjo. That sounds like a hike I would enjoy. Also recommended on the other thread. I think I'll be adding it into the mix.

Keith

6. Re: Prioritizing What to Do at Mesa Verde NP

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