For the trip to Mesa Verde Jordan and I had a little more time to plan. So while Jordan worked I researched what I could on where we could stay and a possible itinerary for us.
With Jordan’s Van(camper) we are pretty self sufficient. We have a stove top, fridge, bed, and toilet. So for us its just finding a good spot to park for the night.
A few sites I used to research the trip was:
And yelp- to look up ice cream shops.
The book I used was Your Guide to The National Parks– Michael Joseph Oswald.
For the most part I used exclusively meseveredcountry.com. its easy to use, tabs on the side bar of places nearby to explore, events happening, the towns close by, places to eat and where to stay.
The only thing I wish this site had was something more on the trails in Mesa Verde. This is where my book came in handy and very useful.
Your Guide had the dwelling tours and hikes not to be missed out on.
I wasn’t sure how big the park was and how quickly we would get through everything. So I planned for us to go to the Canyons of the Ancients and to Cortez visitor center on Sunday. We ended up scratching these plans Saturday morning when we got to the visitor center at mesa Verde and realized we could do the three dwelling tours we wanted, Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House.
Friday night we got in late and a little turned around so we stayed at the wal-mart parking lot in Cortez. We pulled up sometime after 2 am.
Saturday morning we got up around 8 or 9 walked Charles and then drove over to the park. It only took 15 minutes from Cortez to the park entrance. We went into the visitor center to take a look but then realized we needed to get in line for our tickets for the cliff dwellings. Since it is the off season we were able to do two tours in one day.
On Saturday we did both Balcony House and Cliff Palace. There is a lot of driving time between the cliff house parking and the visitor center. So be sure to give your self some allowance on that. We had about 45 minutes before our first tour so we had a quick breakfast and then gathered with the rest of the group. For our second tour we drove to the next and had an hour to kill so we had a quick snack, let Charles out and then met with the new group.
The tours were only an hour long each. For hour hiking ability they were rather easy. The paths are all we defined and mostly paved. We climbed up ladders that are very well bulleted in. So as safety goes your well taken care of. Just be sure to either wear a hat, sun block and drink a good amount of water.
After our tours on Saturday, we were done for. With driving in late and then waking up early we were ready for a nap. We took a good two hour nap in the parking lot of the last dwelling. By the time we woke we were ready for some dinner and to explore Cortez and of course our favorite thing…. ice cream!
Yelp, helped us locate a locale ice cream shop. There are two shops but we chose MooseandMore, they are right there in downtown. They had chocolat and house made ice cream. I had their lemon custard….yum We settled for our scoop and walked around town scouting for a good place to eat.
Downtown Cortez has several bars and restaurants. We walked around checking out each place trying to figure out what we would wanted. There is a locale brewery/restaurant that sounded fun but we kept walking around and smelled pizza.
Loung’en Lizard is kinda of an upscale restaurant, yet the prices are reasonable. We shared a vegetarian pizza and salad and each a locale craft beer.
After dinner we drove back towards the national park to camp for the night. We found a site near the park that is bml free parking on freecampsites.net.. We parked on a dirt road and pulled up underneath amfew trees and called it good.