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Old 08-01-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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I know it's not long enough be we're making our way to Atlanta and can't stop long. If you could visit one place in the park, what would you visit and why?
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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I hope that two hours is on top of the two it will take to get in and out of there. Here's a link to the National Park website that recommends what to do if you have a half day or less. Basically it's go to the visitor center, the museum, and Spruce Tree House.

Mesa Verde National Park - Things To Do (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
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I agree with CAVA. It takes a while to get in and out of this particular park. About all you'll have time to do is drive through the main roads. I doubt you'll have time to actually visit any of the ruins, all of which (as I recall) take a bit of time to walk to. You might have time to stop at a few of the overlooks, bt you won't have time to actually go down into any of the ruins.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:54 AM
 
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If I only had two hours in a cross country trip to allocate to stopping at Mesa Verde, I'd keep on driving instead of stopping.

There's simply no way you can do anything except drive into the park a little bit ... where you'll see nothing except the same scenery you've seen on the highway at 65 mph to the area ... and then turn back to continue on your trip.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
If I only had two hours in a cross country trip to allocate to stopping at Mesa Verde, I'd keep on driving instead of stopping.

There's simply no way you can do anything except drive into the park a little bit ... where you'll see nothing except the same scenery you've seen on the highway at 65 mph to the area ... and then turn back to continue on your trip.
If I had two hours in a cross country trip to visit Mesa Verde, I would figure out how to stay 3 or 4 more hours.

Mesa Verde is a truly unique place where one can visit the ruins of the ancient people who once lived here. You can skip a park like RMNP because you can see similar mountains/wildlife in a dozen different NPs in WY, ID, MT, or CA. There is nothing else that comes close to Mesa Verde. Drive an extra two hours for the next two days to make it up.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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I was just reading an interesting Indian legend that claimed the residents were stranded aliens from another planet who were finally picked up at the time of their abandonment of the area.

I'd second the idea of extending your trip as this could be the highlight of it.
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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I have to agree that spending only two hours is pretty much a waste. At least a day is needed just to hit the highlights of Mesa Verde. It is truly a national treasure.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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It is one of the crown jewels of the national park system!

Like everyone has said here, you need to make this a four hour run at least! I'm not sure exactly how many miles it is from the park entrance to the Spruce Tree House, but I'm guessing a little over 20 miles. The road loops around that point and then when you are coming back northbound take that other loop that swings down to Cliff Palace. The speed limit I believe is 30 m.p.h. anyway so you will be basically driving from the park entrance to Spruce House and back again while not stopping. There are several places where you can pull off and enjoy some great views of the four corners area.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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If you really can't stretch it to more than 2 hours you might be better off going to the Cortez Cultural Center down the road in Cortez OR the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores and then plan to return to Mesa Verde another time
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
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When I was a teacher in Grand Junction we took our 4th graders on an annual field trip to Mesa Verde. We did this all in one very long day! It was exhausting for the kids, the teachers and the bus drivers. I would not recommend such a short trip. It took us about 9 hours to drive round trip and we only had about 2.5 hours in the park. We were able to do one guided tour (either Cliff Palace or Balcony House) and a short tour of Spruce Tree house and the little museum in the park. This was not nearly enough time to experience the park, although for kids it was probably all they could do after such an exhausting day. Also, FYI, I just noticed on the park website that they are doing road construction in the park and it says to expect delays. You might want to factor that in as well.

If at all possible I would highly recommend getting a place to stay either just outside the park or stay at the lodge. Even with only a few hours in the park, it's a hot desert landscape and can quickly wear you out. You don't want to hit the road after hiking around in the desert for a few hours. It's worth it!
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