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“Wonderful tour”

Mesa Verde Colorado
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: National Association for Interpretation Certified (NAI) professional guides make the history of Mesa Verde come alive with captivating storytelling of a people who evolved from hunter-gatherers into a culture known for agriculture, intricate artistry, and architecture. Your expert guide will explain the fascinating architectural details, as well as local flora and fauna, artifacts and natural resources and their significance to the Ancestral Puebloans. Guided Mesa Verde tours begin in our comfortable coaches as they transport you to Chapin Mesa. Short walks on simple trails take you to the earliest Mesa Top sites and to the magnificent and more adventurous Cliff Palace – the largest and most awe-inspiring cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park.
Macclenny, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Wonderful tour”
Reviewed September 29, 2013

I do not agree with the reviews of this tour by others. My husband and I just returned from Colorado and New Mexico and this tour was one of the highlights. We were on Brian's bus with Dave giving us history and facts as we drove to different areas. What a wealth of information both of these men have and we wished we had had more time. We loved the NPS rancher tour of Cliff Palace and felt she did an excellent job. We both enjoyed every minute of the 4 hours. We stayed at the Far View Lodge and made this tour part of a package. Well worth the money.

Visited September 2013
6 Thank budnpatty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“Ok, but you will have to decide if it is worth the cost”
Reviewed July 4, 2013

When visiting Mesa Verde National Perk during June 2013 we decided to take the Aarmark operated 700 Years Tour. When planning our trip we signed up for this tour for several reasons:

1. We had a very limited time in the park (1/2 day) and by taking the guided tour we felt we would be able to see the sights without battling the crowds for parking spots at each sight.

2. We have always liked guided tours of cultural sights since in the past we have received more out of the tour than if we visited the sights alone without any background or other information.

3. We were spending the night at the Far View Lodge so we were already at the tour starting point and would not have to drive.

4. Before visiting the only negative was tour cost. For four of us the tour cost~$160, a bit steep, bit if the tour was good might be worth the cost.

With these reasons for taking the tour in mind, below are some notes, comments and tips based on the actual tour experience.

Having just completed visits to Grand Canyon, Zion, Hoover Dam and other more popular sights there was a curious lack of people in Mesa Verde. From the restaurants to the gift shops to the parking lots, there just was not that many people touring, so parking at each sight was not an issue. In fact other than the main cliff dwelling sights most lots were empty. You should not have trouble finding a parking spot!

The cultural and natural history explained on the tour was ok, but not outstanding. Our guide explained more than we would have figured out on our own, but after the tour we did not feel as if we had learned a lot more than we know before we started. At most sights there were placards explaining most of what the guide explained, so all in all the guided aspect of the tour was ok, but not great. The tour was 4 hours long, but as with all larger group tours, a good percentage of the time was spent getting on and off the bus and moving around. If you did want to visit the sights on the tour on your own, you could do it in a fraction of the time of the tour.

One advantage for the tour was that we were staying at The Far View Lodge. Accessing the tour was easy-easy -easy. If had signed up for the tour, but were staying outside the park, you would have to get up pretty early to get drive into the park in time to get the tour. For us this would have made the tour much less attractive.

As mentioned the tour cost us a total of $160, which after the tour seems like too much money for what you get. The tour does also include a National Park led tour of Cliff Palace, but this tour can be purchased for $3/person from the National Park Service. As mentioned we felt like the tour was over priced. Some people especially those with less mobility or people who don't like to drive, it might be worth it, but we felt a bit short changed at the end.

In conclusion, we felt the tour provided just ok information and provided no real improvement in access than if you drive to the sights yourself and at a pretty high cost. For us the value for your money was just not there and next time we would tour on our own, but for some it might be worth it. You will have to decide if it is worth the cost or not. Happy Travels!

Visited June 2013
19 Thank PzTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avon, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Cheesy and boring”
Reviewed June 20, 2013

We went on this tour thinking that we wouldn't be able to go see Cliff Palace any other way. But we were wrong and were pretty disappointed with the quality of this 4 hour tour.
The tour guide bumbled her way through questions and clearly was not very knowledgable. I was insulted at her insistence in pronouncing Mesa Verde like Mesa Verd, instead of Mesa VerdAY for a start. She was unprofessional and annoying - NEVER ONCE stopped talking into the microphone for the entire duration of the tour - once she even asked anyone over the loudspeaker if they needed to stop for the bathroom, and then looked around waiting for someone to put their hand up....ummmm.....awkward!
Each of the stops during the tour were visited for wayyyyyyyyyy too long - about 1/2 an hour at each stop, where our guide continued her rambling explanations of what we were looking at, clearly unsure of herself. My husband and I ended up wandering away from the tour at each stop just so we could give ourselves a break from her voice.
Save your 4 hours and drive yourself around - there is nothing on this tour that you can't go and see on your own. You can pay $3 for a tour of Cliff Palace with a National Park ranger (which is also part of the Aramark tour) which is MUCH MUCH better.

Visited June 2013
7 Thank uglyrubberducky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dune acres indiana
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Poor use of your time”
Reviewed November 9, 2012

I was excited to take this tour, even it meant getting up literally at the crack of dawn to fit breakfast in before its 8AM start. I was sadly disappointed. Way too much talk and not nearly enough on-the-ground exploration of the actual ruins. We did have a great tour of the Cliff Palace given by an impassioned NPS ranger that will stick in my mind for a long time. This tour is given by Aramark, the contractor that runs the lodge and food services. We thought is was very overpriced.
My suggestion is to start at the Visitor's Center and sign up for tours of the various attractions. They are inexpensive and really very well presented. Driving between them is easy and takes little time.
I might add that we had certain time constraints which limited our time at Mesa Verde. Plan to spend at least a whole day, or better yet, two at this incredible collection of early dwellings. You will be richly rewarded. And, try to visit from May to early September. That's when you have access to the Wetherill Mesa Road, which contains Step House and Long House, among other attractions., We missed seeing both due to the lateness for the year.
Treks through the major dwellings is at times strenuous and very small children will have some difficulties. Otherwise, a awesome experience.

Visited October 2012
8 Thank jayclay1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Apex, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Good choice only if you have physical limitations”
Reviewed September 9, 2012

This tour took up a lot of time. The tour guide was good, but much of the information will be redundant if you have already toured one or more sites. I think the $3 ranger guided tours are much better and more time efficient. However, if you have physical limitations or if you are having trouble with the altitude, this is a good option. The bus stops at Cliff Palace for the same $3 ranger-led tour, so unfortunately if you can't make the climb down to the Palace, you must wait on the bus until the others finish the tour. The buses are NOT air-conditioned.

Visited September 2012
4 Thank CWuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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