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Mesa Verde National Park

Photo Credit: Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Mesa Verde National Park

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Photographer's Choice

Mesa Verde National Park

Photo Credit: Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

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Welcome to Mesa Verde National Park, CO

Unlike most national parks of the west, Mesa Verde earned its status from its rich cultural history rather than its geological treasures. President Theodore Roosevelt established it in 1906 as the first national park to "preserve the works of man." The Ancestral Puebloan people, who lived in the region from roughly 600 to 1300, left behind more than 4,000 archaeological sites spread out over 80 square miles. Their ancient dwellings, set high into the sandstone cliffs, are the heart of the park. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. Explore

Things you can't miss

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Investigate Vanished Ancestral Puebloans

Stop at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, where exhibits feature cliff-dweller history and culture, and beautiful pottery, baskets and weavings.

Investigate Vanished Ancestral Puebloans

Image Credit: Alamy

Cliff Palace, a Stunning Glimpse Into the Past

The largest cliff dwelling in North America, this structure has 150 rooms and 23 kivas (ceremonial spaces) built of sandstone with wood beams.

Cliff Palace, a Stunning Glimpse Into the Past

Image Credit: Alamy

Balcony House Is Well Worth the Effort

You’ll climb ladders and crawl through a tunnel to tour this 40-room cliff dwelling, but you’re rewarded with an intimate look at 13th-century life.

Balcony House Is Well Worth the Effort

Image Credit: Alamy

Rock Art on Display

The moderately strenuous Petroglyph Point Trail leads 1.2 miles to the only spot in the park where you can see story-telling images engraved on rock.

Rock Art on Display

Image Credit: Alamy

Scenery and History Combined

Six-mile Mesa Top Loop Road provides access to several park sites including the amazing overlook at Sun View Point and mysterious Sun Temple.

Scenery and History Combined

Image Credit: Alamy

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Must reads before you go

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5 Tips for Taking Vacation Photos

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Use these digital photography tips to take great vacation photos on every trip.

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See America's Top 10 Natural Wonders

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5 Things Not to Do in National Parks

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National parks and state parks are beautiful places to visit and go hiking. Maximize your fun by avoiding these common mistakes - like running out of gas or getting dehydrated.

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