Places to Visit: Mesa Verde National Park

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Mesa Verde National Park

If you are even remotely interested in Native American history, Mesa Verde National Park would have to be your dream vacation destination. You don't have to make a bee-line for the Park as it is conveniently close to other major attractions that would make travel in south-western Colorado a really great idea. A couple of clicks will get you enough information to see you on your way.

Thousands of superbly preserved cliff dwelling sites are what elevates the Mesa Verde National Park a cut above the other parks. So well preserved in fact, that some seem as if the tribe just went hunting and will be back any minute to pick up where they left off. Gather massive amounts of information, imbibe the spirit of the ancient culture, and gaze bemused at the natural beauty all around while you wonder what it must have been like to live here a thousand years ago.

If you're flying into Colorado you have a choice of landing at Cortez and Durango, from where you can rent a car and drive around to the Mesa. From Durango the Park is about 35 miles west on Highway 160, and from Cortez, about 10miles east. There are regular flights from Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Phoenix to Cortez or Durango.

As it is close to the Four Corners, it is easily accessible from across the borders of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Drive north on I-491 to reach the park from New Mexico. From the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, it is 300 miles if you start off from the South Rim. Turn left and head north-east on hitting US 89. About 15 miles down you come to US 160. Stay on it till you come to US 10 and ten minutes on you'll be at the Park entrance.

There is no public transport available to the park and in any case you would need a vehicle to explore the vast grounds. Bus services can bring you to Cortez from Grand Junction, CO and Gallup, NM. Easily accessible from most places, it is however, a 21 mile drive from the entrance to the Park headquarters.

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