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4 Reasons to Visit Mesa Verde Country (SW Colorado) in 2019

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2019 is right around the corner so it’s time to start thinking about vacation destinations to enjoy during the year.

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Haven’t found the perfect holiday gift yet for someone on your list? A trip to Mesa Verde Country is ideal! The area is full of new events and lodging experiences. Get planning!

One day just isn’t enough! There’s nothing better than small western towns, steeped in history and surrounded by amazing views! So many adventures that your bucket list will need a bucket list!

Mesa Verde Country is in southwest Colorado near the entrance to the magnificent Mesa Verde National Park. The nearby towns of Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos provide accommodations, dining, outdoor fun and visitor services. Named the “Number One Historic Monument in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime-The World’s Greatest Destinations” by National Geographic, Mesa Verde National Park is one of the nation’s first World Heritage sites and the largest archaeological preserve in the country.

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Two national byways pass through Mesa Verde Country. In addition to the National Park, Mesa Verde Country is loaded with other archaeological attractions: Hovenweep National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Visitor Center and Museum, Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and the Cortez Cultural Center. Mountain biking enthusiasts have recognized Mesa Verde Country as one of the next great mountain biking destinations.

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Mesa Verde Country has just announced new offerings for the 2019 summer vacation season. Mesa Verde Country is known as the archaeological hotbed of the Southwest, with Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Visitor Center and Museum, Ute Mountain Tribal Park, the Crow Canyon Archeological Center and the Cortez Cultural Center. 

Mesa Verde Country’s Executive Director Kelly Kirkpatrick says these new offerings underscore the fact that one day just isn’t enough for visitors to enjoy all there is to experience in Mesa Verde Country. “Mesa Verde Country is becoming a really desirable destination thanks to the rich cultural experiences in the area,” says Kirkpatrick. “But we also have an amazing festival scene, great restaurants and really unique places to stay.”

Kirkpatrick says these new additions to Mesa Verde Country mean the area is worth visiting – or revisiting! – in the summer of 2019.


Canyons of the Ancients Guest Ranch: The rentals at this historic guest ranch are located in the scenic and quaint McElmo Canyon. With over 5,000 documented archaeological sites in this beautiful area, the ranch is now offering a new archaeology program. Join a local rockologist who is excavating a village on the property. Take a tour of the excavation site and learn about the ancient people who lived in this area while viewing their rock art on the stone walls surrounding the ranch.

Photo Credit: Dolores River Campground

Conestoga Wagons at Dolores River Campground: Imagine travel in the Wild West by overnighting in one of the new Conestoga Wagons at the Dolores River Campground. The gorgeous Western wagons are handcrafted in Utah with a true craftsman’s attention to detail and boast a king size bed, bunk bed, table and chairs, mini fridge and microwave, picnic table and fire pit (linens included). There’s electricity, but no plumbing. Guests use the newly remodeled bathhouse. Rates $125/night based on two nights.

Photo Credit: Dolores River Campground

Photo Credit: Dolores River Campground

Critter Mountain Ranch, Dolores: Critter Mountain Ranch guest house is located near a working alpaca ranch that is surrounded by pinion, juniper and gamble oak. The ranch house sits on 40 acres surrounded by gorgeous views. Guests can explore the nearby nature center and trails or schedule time with the ranch manager who works in the barn every morning to learn the alpaca ranching ropes. Additionally, it is possible to book an alpaca yarn weaving experience with the ranch owner.

Stone Turtle Lodges, Cortez: These new cabins feature two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bath and a front porch that’s perfect for star-gazing. Located three miles north of Cortez, the cabins feature sweeping views of Sleeping Ute Mountain and the carved mesas of Mesa Verde National Monument.


Mancos Common Press: Efforts are underway to restore and revitalize the Mancos Common Press in downtown Mancos, an historic building that housed the town’s first newspaper that was founded in 1893. The building remains completely intact with its glass and ornamental pressed metal façade and its original interior and contents – including a rare Cranston printing press and a complete archive of the original newspapers from 1910-2010. The goal is to turn the building into an art and educational center dedicated to the printer’s art. Stop by to check it out next time you’re in the area!

Photo Credit: Eccentric Roadside

Mancos Creative District: The Mancos Creative District has grown to feature over 120 local artists. The district spans several blocks in the historic downtown area and is home to galleries, artisan cooperatives, an historic opera house, a thriving common press and historic buildings dating to the late 1800s. The area is also home to cowboys, craftsmen, artists, musicians, brewers, chefs and craftspeople. There’s always something new brewing at the Mancos Creative District!

Mesa Verde Country Farm & Ranch Tours: The new Mesa Verde Farm & Ranch Tours invite visitors to discover what life on a farm is like as they taste the flavors of the region. The experiential tours explain how farmers live and work the land to produce crops and other crafts.


Cortez Celtic Fair: The Cortez Celtic Fair, June 22, hosts Highland games and demonstrations, a Highland Dance Competition, Celtic bands, Clan Tents, the Celtic Kids Carnival and a petting zoo. The event is free to the public and raises funds for the Pinion Project Family Resource Fair.

Cortez Evening Market: The new Cortez Evening Market takes place on the third Thursday of the month (June-October). The event features local foods, handmade artwork and live music.

Grand Summer Nights Block Party: Hosted in the heart of Mancos on Grand Avenue the first Saturday of each month in the summer, the Grand Summer Nights Block Party is fun and free for the whole family. Food and art vendors are available, downtown art galleries are open, and an activity area, a roping steer and a roping demonstration is on tap for children. This event grows every year, and 2019 promises to be the best yet!

Mancos Valley Summer Brewfest: This event is held at Cottonwood Park and features beer, music and community. The event benefits Mancos Valley Resources, the Mt. Lookout Grange and the Painted Turtle.


Fenceline Cider | Outlier Cellars: Featuring apples that grow at the base of the La Plata Mountains, Fenceline Cider has a new taproom in downtown Mancos. The founders of the artisan cidery have a goal to “build quality cider from the apple up.” Come taste how Fenceline is reviving America’s cider tradition!

Photo Credit: Outlier Cellars

Cortez Meat Market: Selling locally raised pork, lamb and beef, along with cold cuts, cheeses, sandwiches and more, the Cortez Meat Market is the place to go for a quick bite or to pick up fixings for a make-at-home meal. For hearty appetites, you can even choose your cut of meat and have them grill it up for you on the spot!

For more information on planning a trip to Mesa Verde Country, call 800-530-2998 or visit

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