Friday, June 20th – Mesa Verde National Park & Four Corners

After a short ride from Durango to Mesa Verde, we visited the Visitor Center to buy our ticked for a tour. We chose to do the Cliff Palace tour, because we weren’t sure if Cole could make it on the advanced strenuous Balcony House. After doing Cliff Palace, I think he could have done Balcony House, no problem!! Oh well! The kids still had a blast going through the ruins.

Far away view of Cliff Palace

We also got to visit the Spruce Tree House.  Spruce Tree House, the third largest cliff dwelling (Cliff Palace and Long House are larger), was constructed between AD 1211 and 1278 by the ancestors of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwest. The dwelling contains about 130 rooms and 8 kivas (kee-vahs), or ceremonial chambers, built into a natural cave measuring 216 feet (66 meters) at greatest width and 89 feet (27 meters) at its greatest depth. It is thought to have been home for about 80 people.  This place was amazing.  We got to climb down into a kiva, and it was a really cool experience to see where these Ancestry Pueblos lived.

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Ancient Pueblo structure is located in Mesa Verde National Park, in the southwest corner of the U.S. state of Colorado, home to the Ancestral Puebloans people.


Cliff Palace contains 23 kivas—round sunken rooms of ceremonial importance. One kiva, in the center of the ruin, is at a point where the entire structure is partitioned by a series walls with no doorways or other access portals. The walls of this kiva were plastered with one color on one side and a different color on the opposing side. Archaeologists believe that the Cliff Palace contained two communities and that this kiva was used to integrate the two communities.

Tree ring dating indicates that construction and refurbishing of Cliff Palace was continuous from c. AD 1190 through c. 1260, although the major portion of the building was done within a twenty-year time span. For unknown reasons, Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300.

It was amazing to go through these cliff dwellings, and definitely worth the $3.00 per person to see these dwellings up close.

Cole in four states at once!

Next we headed to Four Corners! It was quite hot the entire day, so Brittany decided not to lay down on the “spot”, but Cole did, and was very happy about it!

Four Corners Monument

Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of southwest Colorado, northwest New Mexico, northeast Arizona and southeast Utah. The name comes from the Four Corners Monument, located where the four states touch — the only location in the United States that is on the boundaries of four states.

To view all the pictures from Four Corners Monument, click here!

To view all the pictures from Mesa Verde National Park, click here!

Then we headed to Moab, for an overnight stay, for a trip to Arches National Park tomorrow!

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