Diggin' Mandi

Mesa Verde – A 1,400 year old UNESCO World Heritage site



When I realized the road trip that I was on was going to be taking me right by a UNESCO World Heritage site, I knew there was going to be no way I was going to not visit it; especially, if the site is Mesa Verde!

Being an archaeologist, I find Heritage sites like Mesa Verde to be my kryptonite. Granted, all UNESCO sites are radical in their own rights, there is something about culturally identified ones that just get the heart rate going a bit faster than the others. I especially enjoy the ones that have structures that are insanely well preserved; such as Mesa Verde.

To think that I can stand in a room where a person who lived hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago may have also stood, is still mind blowing to me. I sure hope that feeling never goes away. When in these situations I wonder things such as, “what were their thoughts? Aspirations? Favorite toy? Were they happy? What was the dad joke?”

Mesa Verde allows its visitors to visit in a few of the sites standing dwellings. You literally get to climb a ladder that is similar to what the original inhabitants used to use. Once inside, a tour guide brings you to the dwellings rooms and explains the history, and uses, each one is suspected to have been used for.

What is Mesa Verde?
Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is an ancestral Pueblo dwelling site. It is around 1,400 years old. This puts it starting date at about AD 600. The people who had lived there are believed to have called Mesa Verde home for about 700 years. That is a lot of generations!

The Peoples of Mesa Verde utilized the cliffs in the area by making their homes within them, allowing protection from natural elements and intruders.

What makes Mesa Verde special are the spectacularly persevered cliff dwellings that exists there – over 600 of them! That number is part of the almost 5,000 sites that exist within the park! Archaeology heaven!!

Did I mention that not only is Mesa Verde a UNESCO World Heritage site, but, it is also a National Heritage site as well!? Talk about a two-for-one special!

Overlook of a Mesa Verde Site

Overlook of a Mesa Verde Site


There is camping at this huge park, and I strongly recommend camping there while visiting…for at least two days!

Mesa Verde is no small feat, so if you want to truly see all that it has to offer, then pitch a tent and relax. You will not regret it!

I camped there for one night (more like ten hours); although, I wish it would have been more. The camp site is high in the mountains with a view that is jaw dropping.

Although I highly recommend driving to the campsite up the intimidating winding mountain road during the day time, there is a perk if you do not – no park entrance fee!! Yay!


Mesa Verde is set up pretty well for all ages and abilities. Aside from the climbing for the dwelling tours themselves, all the other sites are easily accessible. The cliff dwellings are even easily seen from the road that leads you through the Park.

These "can't miss these sites" signs are everywhere.

These “can’t miss these sites” signs are everywhere.

Final Thoughts

Mesa Verde is a must-see! The feeling of euphoria has to be felt by every person who visits here…or so I hope. Getting to experience what this archaeological wonder has to offer is something a person will carry for a lifetime. I know I sound a bit insane, but I really can’t express how cool this place is. I understand this kind of thing is not every persons cup-of-tea, but I can not image anybody not saying, “wow”, at least one time!

So if you are in the area of Mesa Verde, don’t forget to pop in for at least a few hours!

  • Park fee: Click here for up to date information.
  • The park is open almost everyday of the year (some National holidays they are closed).
  • Access to the park is 24 hours a day. However, most events and activities are held during daytime hours.
  • Camping Info: Click here for up to date information and rates.
    • My tent site was $30 US.
  • If you arrive to the park after hours you will not have to pay the park fee. However, you will have to pay for your camping at the main office the following morning.

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