America’s national parks draw visitors from all around the world, but many people don’t think about visiting most park locations during the winter months when their vacation destination takes them to colder areas of the country. However, that’s not a problem when you visit stunning Telluride, Colorado. This area definitely enjoys a cold season, but nearby Mesa Verde National Park is open all year around.
About Mesa Verde National Park
More than 500,000 visitors enjoy this wonderful park every year, and it’s typically busiest during the summer months with as many as 3,000 visitors each day and slowest during the winter months with as few as 50 visitors on the coldest days. Both archeology and nature enthusiasts adore this park, and you’ll find more than 52,000 acres that are filled with well-preserved archaeological sites that were left by the early Pueblo people and an abundance of wonderful opportunities to enjoy history and nature.
Play, Learn and Explore
As a designated World Heritage Site, Mesa Verde National Park offers several features that you won’t find at other parks. These are just a few of the most popular activities that are available at the park along with the seasons that you may expect to enjoy them.
1. Take a Hike Through History
Spend some time on any of the numerous hiking trails, and you’ll discover history at every turn. Expect to walk among nearly 5,000 historical sites, which include some 600 cliff dwellings. You’ll see the structure that is known as the Cliff Palace, which is believed to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America, prehistoric check dams that were used in early farming techniques and ancient petroglyphs. These trails range from easy for families with small children to extremely challenging, and you can expect to enjoy hiking throughout the spring, summer and fall. While some guided hikes may be available in the winter months, many trails are closed during severe winter weather for the safety of visitors.
2. Enjoy Nature
On the same trails mentioned above and during the same seasons, you may also enjoy a hiking adventure that gives you a chance to enjoy the area’s amazing flora and fauna. Birding enthusiasts often arrive in great numbers to see the 200 species of birds that call the park home, and these include the endangered Mexican spotted owl, hummingbirds, wild turkeys, golden eagles and hairy woodpeckers. Other animals that you may spot include black bears, porcupines, bats, minks, badgers, bobcats and deer. Your hike will also take you among some amazing scenery that includes big sagebrush, yucca, Utah juniper and aromatic sumac.
3. Fun in the Snow
Winter opens up a whole new world at Mesa Verde National Park, and you can plan to enjoy a fun day of winter sports. Both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular park activities once enough snow has accumulated on the trails, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy these activities in peace and quiet. However, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself sharing your adventure with great herds of many different types of deer.
4. Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
The park’s museum is open during every season of the year, and you’ll see many exciting dioramas that illustrate the life of the early Pueblo people. Exhibits include a chronology of the Pueblo culture and a vast assortment of prehistoric artifacts that include cookware, farming tools, artwork, building tools and hunting items. You may also enjoy a short film about the history of the area.
5. Explore From Your Car
Those who are unable to hike the trails may still indulge in a little exploration. During spring, summer and fall, you may enjoy a six-mile drive on the Mesa Top loop road. You’ll see many examples of the Pueblo people’s life and architecture, and you’ll be able to stop at various spots to take a closer look at the dwellings.
6. Balcony House
Spring is a wonderful time of the year for this popular activity, but you better be in at least good shape before you decide to try this one. If you’re up to this guided activity, then you’ll have fun and get your exercise for the day as it requires you to climb a 32-foot ladder, crawl through 12 feet of tunnel and climb a full 60 feet up an exposed cliff face in order to gain entry to this particular cliff dwelling.
Make Your Telluride Vacation Plans Today
These are just a few of the many great ways that you may enjoy your time at Mesa Verde National Park, and you can discover all of the park’s great opportunities during your Telluride vacation. Contact us here at Telluride Rentals, and we’ll reserve the vacation residence of your choice for your preferred dates.