This was my second time visiting Mesa Verde National Park. It would have been my third time, but when my family tried to go a while back, the park was closed due to fires. The first time I visited this park was in 5th grade on a week long school field trip to a place called Crow Canyon within the park.

I stayed in the park for two nights. On the first night, I did two hikes, the first one being Point lookout Trail, which gave great views, as Mesa Verde National Park is very elevated above the surrounding area. The second hike I did was called Knife Edge trail, and it was on this hike that I watched the sunset. I also saw like 6-8 grouse playing and eating in the grass alongside the trail, four of which are pictured below standing on a rock. They didn’t at all seem bothered by my presence, which was cool.

The next day I did a lot, and saw many cliff dwellings and other ruins. I started my day going down Wetherill Mesa road, and that is where I saw the Step House, the only cliff dwelling that I was actually able to go into and check out. I then did a supposed 5 mile hike/walk along tram route, I say supposed 5 miles because it felt so much shorter than what it was advertised to be. It was long this walk that I saw the Long House, Kodak House, and the Nordenskiold Site #16. I also saw a few wild horses, so more than just the one pictured below. I didn’t realize that there even were wild horses in the area, it was cool.

After Wetherill Mesa Road, I went down into Chapin Mesa road, where I saw the Spruce Tree House and other cliff dwellings. My personal favorite was the Square Tower House. I was also able to overlook the Cliff Palace, the most famous of all the cliff dwellings, and as far as I know the largest of the cliff dwellings. Also of note was the Far View Sites, where the Pipe Shrine House was, named so since the discover found a lot of ceremonial pipes there. This was also the ruin that had the strange spiral shaped rock, only the one though. Maybe there were more of those when the walls were still standing.

So that was a pretty long day, and I ended the day at the Geologic Overlook. That night, back at camp, a mule deer grazed around my campsite for a little while, so I took a bunch of pictures of it.

I left Mesa Verde National Park on the morning of September 6th, and I headed into Canyons of the Ancients National Monument after that.


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Alex Galassi

I'm Alex Galassi, born and raised in Centennial, Colorado. I currently work at a web design company, and I travel quite often, both domestically and internationally.

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