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  1. Default Mesa Verde CO--- OR---New Mexico,May or June 2014

    Hello all, thanks to all the great folks on here, I have received some great advise for the trip I took last year. ( Death valley, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce,Zion,Cedar banks). Loved every minute of it and it all came together largely with the help of the people on here with your advice. I had 3 weeks off then, unfortunately I only have about 9 days this time :(.

    I posted a month or so ago about planning a trip to Yellowstone. I don't think that is going to happen for economic reasons, I am glad I sought out all of your advice on that one, shocked to hear the prices for lodging around Yellowstone.

    So I am re-planning now and thinking about Mesa Verde CO to see the cliff dwellings
    OR New Mexico Gila cliff dwellings, the plan would be May or June. I would fly into the nearest town and rent a car and go. Actual time on the ground would be about 7 or 8 days---Arrive on a Monday and Fly back on Wed or Thursday of the next week, this would give me about 7-8 days on the ground to see things. I plan to cheap motel it, nothing fancy and rent a car once there.
    I like to do a fair amount of hiking, seeking a nature kind of trip. So given my time constraints:

    Between CO and NM, which cliff dwellings are more magnificent, worth seeing?

    1. How much time to allow to see Mesa Verde to see cliff dwellings would you say?
    2. Once I am in that area, what else can/should I see nature/park wise? ( with the time I have to spend)
    3. Lodging advise for that area? Best place to fly into from midwest?
    4 Any other kind of advise would be great.
    What about New Mexico?
    1. How much time to see the Gila cliff dwelling?
    2. Other Parks, beauty of Nature kinds of things to see?
    3. Lodging ideas? Best place to fly into from midwest?

    Looking for any advice and input you may have on either place
    Last edited by brian3222; 04-09-2014 at 04:08 PM. Reason: add info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    When I think of cliff dwellings, I think of those in Mesa Verde. They are unique in that they are huge and numerous. That is one of the main reasons why they received National PARK status rather than Monument. If my husband and I have a choice between a PARK and a MONUMENT, we ordinarily choose the park, because to us it means either bigger, more substantial, older, or more. However, in fairness to you, I can say that I have not been to the Gila Cliff Dwellings -- only to Mesa Verde. Hopefully someone who HAS been to both of them, can advise you.

    That said --

    Mesa Verde: I believe we saw most of Mesa Verde in two days. Took a couple of the guided tours, a campfire or two. We were traveling with a travel trailer at the time, so we stayed in a campground in the park. If you can't get a place inside the park, Cortez is reasonable, Durango is a little far. Fly into Albuquerque and drive, most likely. While in the area, you could go to Four Corners (kitschy but cute), a drive up the Million Dollar Highway, do the Durango-Silverton Railroad.

    Gila Cliff Dwellings are near Silver City (which I have been to, albeit awhile ago). If you flew into Albuquerque, there are a number of places you could tool around to and from the Dwellings, including White Sands, Roswell and a number of interesting things in the ABQ area.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Mesa Verda and nearby.

    Only having visited Mesa Verda and surrounding areas, I can only comment on that. But if you are interested in the early settlement of the North American continent, you can spend at least two, but possibly more days in Mesa Verda. It is an amazing place, and unfortunately, most folk drive through, do one or both of the guided tours and leave again. There is so much more to this park. It is packed with history.

    Nearby is the four corners area, the million dollar highway, the Durango Silverton railway, and dozens more attractions. You might like to start of by readiong this thread which covered the area in nor much more time than you have.

    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-10-2014 at 01:25 AM. Reason: Fixed link.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A great loop.

    Around Mesa Verde you will find some great options including the San Juan Skyway which includes the 'Million dollar Highway section mentioned previously. As well as the Railway you could visit Black Canyon, Currecanti Nat Rec area, Colorado NM, Four Corners, Arches NP and Canyonlands

    Denver would most likely be the best value to fly into and rent a car from where you could head to Grand junction for Colorado NM with a possible detour over the continental divide at Loveland Pass. Next up Moab for Arches and Canyonlands 'Island in the Sky' section where you will also find Dead Horse Point State Park. From Interstate you can get to Moab via a scenic detour on US6/UT128 through Castle Valley which only adds little time. On the way to Mesa Verde you could take a quick detour to Four Corners for the cheesey 'One limb in each of 4 States' photo. You might not have time to drive the whole of the San Juan Skyway to include Telluride [?] and if not you would next head towards Durango and up the Million Dollar Highway as far as Montrose and then take US50 to Black Canyon and through Currecanti Rec area and over the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass before heading back to Denver. Without entering the parks that's a couple of full days of driving with breaks, so you will have time to sight see. You'd probably want a couple of days for Arches and Canyonlands and a day and a half at Mesa Verde and the rest you could split with driving and 'pit stops' to see some of the other sights. If you have already visited Arches, or you would prefer, you could always visit Rocky mountain NP.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-10-2014 at 01:59 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Cave dwellings.

    A couple of cave dwellings that may be of interest.

    Bandelier National Monument. A large park area which includes old cave dwellings of the Pueblo People which you can walk around. Near Los Alamos and Santa Fee. We stayed at Santa Fee and this was a good day trip.

    Montezuma Castle. A self-guided tour, short loop trail leads you past an incredible 5-story cliff dwelling, through a beautiful sycamore grove and along spring-fed Beaver Creek, one of only a few perennial streams in Arizona. You are not allowed to climb into the cave. Just off I-17 south of Sedona.

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