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Mesa Verde with young kids

Fredericksburg...
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Mesa Verde with young kids

Hi,

I am planning a trip to Mesa Verde and Durango w/ my family (wife and 3 kids, 11, 7, and 3 by June 2009).

Would the 3 year-old be able to visit the Cliff Palace or Balcony House?

Any other suggestions of MUST-SEE in the area.

We are driving from Virginia, through NC, TN (2 days stop), AR, OK, TX, NM (2-3 days in Albuquerque, Santa-Fe), AZ (Petrified Forest, Chinle, Grand Canyon, Page) to either (I'm still deciding this):

- to 4 State Corner, Mesa Verde, into UT for Arches and Canyonlands Natl Parks and back into CO for Gunnison

or

- into UT for Arches and Canyonlands Natl Parks and into CO for Gunnison and Mesa Verde, Durango

through Denver, into KS, MO, KY, and back home.

thanks,

David

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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1. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

I hear the train ride there is worthwhile. We plan on taking our children when we go to CO next and can finally hit Durango, Mesa Verde, etc.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

If your 3 year old can climb ladders (there are 3 of them in a crack in the canyon) you can do Cliff Palace, while Balcony House has a long ladder which is open, much scarier! You can walk into Spruce Tree House which is my favorite of the ruins.

Also visit Far View Ruin and the Mesa Top Ruins.

Durango is a fun town and you may enjoy the train. Make sure you take the train one way and the bus the other (we did train both ways, too long of a day)

Hertfordshire...
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3. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

My husband and self have just returned from Mesa Verde and it was wonderfull but with young children I don't think it is suitable. There are notices around the sites saying control your children but for a 3 year old to me it would be dangerous. We visited Cliff Palace and Balcony House and had a terrific time with a ranger lead hour long tour. Balcony House involved climbing a ladder against a vertical cliff with no safety holds and crawling through a dark tunnel in the rock on hands and knees. I really was wondering if I had the guts to do it as it looked so scary. We did have a youngster in our group who looked to be around 8 or 9 and he was the first up the ladder with the ranger! For such a young child maybe when they are a bit older.

Fredericksburg...
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4. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

Thank you all for your help!!!

5. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

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WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

When you say Gunnison, do you mean the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park or do you mean the city of Gunnison?

Because if you mean the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, I can help you with lots of things to see and do around Montrose/Ridgway/Ouray. It sounds like you might be considering driving from Mesa Verde to Durango, then north over the Million Dollar Highway (spectacular, breathtaking, a little hairraising due to no guardrails and steep dropoffs, but truly a memorable drive and definitely must see) to Silverton and Ouray, then to Montrose and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park.

Fruita, Colorado
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7. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

I think a lot of the places on your list could be worrisome for a 3-year old. We used to take our kids to places like that all of the time when they were in grade school (and older) and had no problems but never younger than that. Every year people die at the Grand Canyon by falling over the edge, in fact in March 2007 a 4 year old girl fell to her death there. Canyonlands and Arches are both slickrock areas where there can be serious falls so you will need to be vigilant with all your children and make sure they know to stay away from the edges. There are parts of Mesa Verde that are doable for a 3 year old but Balcony House is not one of them. Cliff Palace requires you to go down 120 uneven stone steps, probably not doable by short toddler legs so someone may have to carry that child on what the Park Service describes as a "steep trail" and you will have to climb 5 eight foot ladders. Also since it is a one-hour ranger led tour, a 3-year old may not remain interested, could become disruptive and ruin the trip for others who are there for a once in a lifetime experience. There are self-guided tours of mesa level sites that you can view and great paved trails that take you to some great kivas, etc. so there will be plenty to see. Sounds like an extensive trip, hope you have a great time.

8. Re: Mesa Verde with young kids

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