National Parks Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde, Spanish for "green table", offers an unparalleled opportunity to see and experience a unique cultural and physical landscape. The culture represented at Mesa Verde reflects more than 700 years of history. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area, eventually building elaborate stone villages in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Today most people call these sheltered villages "cliff dwellings". The cliff dwellings represent the last 75 to 100 years of occupation at Mesa Verde. In the late 1200s within the span of one or two generations, they left their homes and moved away.

The archeological sites found in Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Scientists study the ancient dwellings of Mesa Verde, in part, by making comparisons between the Ancestral Pueblo people and their contemporary indigenous descendants who still live in the Southwest today. Twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde.

To fully enjoy Mesa Verde National Park, plan to spend a day or two exploring its world-class archeological sites as well as its beautiful landscape. The entrance to the park is 9 miles east of Cortez and 35 miles west of Durango in Southwestern Colorado on US Highway 160.

http://www.mesa.verde.national-park.com/
Rocky Mountain National Park
Established by Congress on January 26, 1915, the park exhibits the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and looks out over dozens of peaks that tower more than 13,000 feet high. Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park, is 14,259' in elevation. The high point on Trail Ridge Road is 12,183'. The road is closed from late fall, to the Memorial Day weekend. Because of the high elevation of the park (8,000' to over 14,000') visitors need to take time to acclimatize. People with various medical problems should check with their physician before coming to the park. Elk, mule deer, big horn sheep, moose, coyotes and a great variety of smaller animals call the 416 square miles (265,769 acres)of the National Park home.

During the winter months snowshoeing and cross country skiing are very popular. Hiking is available on 355 miles of trails. Many trails can be hiked any time of the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the wild flowers. Weather conditions determine when and where flowers bloom; call 970-586-1206 for up to date information. In the fall, viewing the elk rut (mating season) is a wonderful opportunity to see and learn about these magnificent large animals. Almost 90% of the park is managed as wilderness, making it a great place to enjoy solitude and the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.