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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

P.O. Box 8
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330

Phone
Visitor Information
(970) 529-4465

WELCOME to Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. 

Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

On June 29, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to "preserve the works of man," the first national park of its kind. Today, the continued preservation of both cultural and natural resources is the focus of the park's research and resource management staff.

Ancestral Puebloans of Mesa Verde

About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. 

Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture.

Ancestral Puebloans made Mesa Verde their home from about A.D. 550 to 1300. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here.

Today, Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture. The park contains over 4,000 known archeological sites including cliff dwellings and the mesa top sites of pithouses, pueblos, masonry towers, and farming structures. Use the links below to learn about some of these archeological sites.

Nature & Science

As the first national park set aside to �preserve the works of man,� Mesa Verde National Park also contains a rich diversity of natural resources worthy of national park status. The park includes 8,500 acres of federally designated wilderness, and is a Class I air shed, the highest standards set by Congress under the Clean Air Act. Park Mesa, in the southeast section of the park, has been designated a Research Natural Area.

Mesa Verde (Spanish for green table), occupies just over 52,000 acres of the Colorado Plateau. The correct geological term for the area is cuesta. Cuestas are similar to mesas, but instead of being relatively flat, they gently dip in one direction. 

Mesa Verde is inclined slightly to the south at about a seven degree angle and has been highly dissected by wind and water erosion into a series of canyons and �mesas.� 

Elevations range from about 6,000 feet in the canyon bottoms near the southern park boundary to 8,572 feet at Park Point, about ten miles north.

Places to Picnic:

  • Chapin Mesa Museum
  • Cliff Palace
  • Mancos Valley Overlook
  • Montezuma Valley Overlook
  • Park Point Overlook
  • Wetherill Mesa Information
  • Wetherill Mesa Road

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