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“great views” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ruins Road

Ruins Road
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
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Type: Scenic Drives, Landmarks
Activities: Driving
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Attraction details
Owner description: Scenic drives that offer visitors dramatic views of Anasazi cliff dwellings.
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“great views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

From many points you can see ruins that are not visitable and see the ones that you have visited. You really appreciate the Ancient Publoeans even more-so when you view from this perspective.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 reviews from our community

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English first
Columbia, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2012

Easy to find, scenery is beautiful, impressed by the clean surroundings and recycling opportunities.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durango, CO
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Educational entertainment for the day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2012

Get out of the car and look over the edge for some wonderful views of the cliff dwellings. The road could have used some slight repairs but it's great to get a different perspective on the dwellings.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cortez, Colorado, United States
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Ride the Ruins Road”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

Catch this ride at sunrise or sunset and you are in for an amazing experience.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“One of the best trips to the Southwest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2012


I love the mountains in Colorado and New Mexico and have been there several times, always in awe of the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty of the mountains in the South West corner of Colorado and eastern New Mexico until last fall when I experienced so much beauty my words will hardly describe all I saw adequately.

There are several things you need to know about this area before you decide if this is the right trip for you. This is not a trip for young children. Second you will be driving on secondary roads most of the way, but as a seasoned traveler, I have learned that is the way you get the full experience of the area. Lastly, you will be driving and walking in high altitudes, so make sure you rest and drink lots of water.

So just where is Mesa Verda National Park? It’s west of Durango, Colorado about 17 miles give or take a few miles from Utah in what is described as the four corner area, and yes it is pretty much in the middle of no where. If your main objective is to spend a day in Mesa Verda ( and it will take at least that much time if you plan on seeing just the park highlights), I would suggest you stay in Cortez, Colorado which is only nine miles from the ruins. There are plenty of motels and restaurants, but not much else in the way of entertainment. If you are traveling with older children, you may want to stay in Durango, Colorado since it is much larger and would probably offer more to do. It is about 36 miles from the park. We were in the park a full day and between the steep grade walks and high altitudes, we were quite content just to get some dinner and relax for the evening after our day in the park.

I have been to other Native American dig sites, but nothing prepared me for what I saw at Mesa Verda. Archeologists are not sure exactly sure how many ruins there are in the park but some to the earliest date back to 700 to 900 AD. It is believed the Anasazi Indians inhabited this area.
You will see two types of ruins, those that are on flat ground (even the pole holes of their dwellings are visible and the second is the cliff dwellings. You can pay for a guided tour with park rangers, but you must carry water with you and also be able to climb ladders and walk up steep inclines. You can only get up close and personal to the cliff ruins on one of these guided tours. You may also pick up a map at the visitors center and tour the ruins at your own speed, which is what we did. There are great pull offs throughout the park so that you can see all the ruins without taking a guided tour. (See pictures below). As you look at these ruins especially the cliff ruins you wonder how in the world did they make the homes and Kiva’s (a place where religious ceremonies are held) and get the materials down from the top of the Mesa. They lived in the cliffs, but farmed on the Mesa top.

If you are staying in Cortez and want to head south to New Mexico you will take hwy 160 east to hwy 25 south to Raton where you will pick up hwy 64 into Red River New Mexico. This is once again secondary roads for the most part with small towns along the way. You will be doing a lot of mountain driving once you pass Durango, Colorado. You will pass a secluded town in the Mountains called Silverton. Silverton is an old mining town from the 1860 and a lot of the buildings in town are original dwellings from that period. The elevation at this point is 9,318 feet and still climbing. This drive is not for the faint of heart. There are no guard rails and the switch backs are wicked. Don’t plan on making any time on these road, just enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

You will note a sign once you enter New Mexico that warns you of wild horses for 17 miles. It must have been our lucky day because we were lucky enough to see two large herds of at least 20 in each one and then two small herds with maybe five or six. What a thrill.

Following hwy 64 you will enter Red River, New Mexico. It is a ski area but is also beautiful in the summer and fall. One of the main points of interest you will want to look into is taking an off road Jeep Tour with “New Mexico Adventure Company“. This is a three hour tour and is great at sunset. Please beware this is off road and the ride is very rough. What I liked about it was the vehicle looked like an old troop carrier with the seats turned to face the front and the guide sat in the cab and didn’t do a lot of jabbering. When something important came along he would stop the truck and get out to tell us what we were looking at. While driving up the mountain we spotted a bear and her cub as well as deer. When you get to the top of the road you will be at the highest point you can drive to in New Mexico…higher than Sandia Peak. You will be able to see part of Wheeler Mountain and the three sisters peaks. You will be in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

This is a wonderful adventure and I would plan on at least 11 days for this trip, especially if you plan on seeing Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This trip is approximately 2500 miles starting in St. Louis, Missouri. If you want a travel agency to map it for you….you want to go straight across Colorado to Grand Junction, the mountains are especially beautiful, then head south. I have added pictures to this piece, to give you some idea of what you will see and the drive through the mountains. I hope someday you will make this trip. It is well worth it.

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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