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Colorado Fly Drive Destination
Mesa Verde National Park and Cortez

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Cortez is the closest town to Mesa Verde National Park. We did not find Cortez very attractive, but to be fair to the town, we arrived fairly late after visiting Mesa Verde and set off early the next day to go to Four Corners and on to Moab.

Mesa Verde is a haunting place to visit. The Anasasi ruins nestled into the canyon walls are eerily preserved and the mystery of why they left after building such a civilisation hangs in the air. The picture to the left shows one of the many sights you can see by taking a short walk from the main road.

You really should get in amongst one of the deserted towns to fully appreciate this place. I went to Cliff Palace and would recommend it. The picture on the right is of Cliff Palace from the other side of the canyon. In the bottom right hand side of the picture, you can just see some people which gives this picture a sense of scale.

An important tip is that to go into these ruins you must have a ticket and these must be purchased at the park entrance visitor centre many miles before you get to the park proper. Forward planning is therefore essential. I saw many people being turned away because they did not have a ticket but wanted to enter one of the ruins.

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Go back to your last position in the site Grand Junction Black Canyon of the Gunnison Gunnison Canon City and Royal Gorge Four Corners Mesa Verde National Park & Cortez Durango Silverton Ouray Great Sand Dunes National Monument