North America’s Richest
Archaeological Preserve

The spectacular mountains, mesas, and canyons of Mesa Verde Country have been home to Native American communities for several thousands of years. The earliest inhabitants of the area were nomadic peoples who lived in the area from at least 10,000 B.C., sustaining themselves by hunting game and gathering food plants. The Ancestral Puebloans (formerly referred to as the Anasazi) occupied the area from approximately A.D. 1 to A.D. 1300 and left remarkable remnants of their civilization throughout the region. Whispers of this civilization still echo throughout this ancient land, where cliff dwellings and petroglyphs stand the test of time. 

The Ancestral Puebloans created a thriving civilization that eventually raised towers and built hundred-room cities into the cliffs of Mesa Verde. There are several thousand sites in the area, earning Mesa Verde Country the honor of being called North America’s richest archaeological preserve. Many sites are open to the public for visitation, and there are several local museums and institutions dedicated to exploring and interpreting the culture and archaeology. The most famous of these is award-winning Mesa Verde National Park, bus visiting the other sites in the area provides a deeper look into the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people. 

Archaeology

Mesa Verde National ParkMesa Verde has been selected the #1 historic monument in the world by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, and was chosen by National Geographic Traveler as one of the 50 places of a Lifetime.Explore More
Canyons of the AncientsJust six miles from the heart of Cortez, Canyons of the Ancients was declared a National Monuments in the year 2000 to preserve the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States.Explore More
Lowry Pueblo Named for homesteader George Lowry, this site is typical of the medium-sized pueblos that once dotted the Montezuma Valley. Lowry Pueblo had a total of about 40 rooms and 8 kivas at its peak.Explore More
Hovenweep National Monument Hovenweep, a Ute Indian word meaning "deserted valley," was once home to over 2,500 people ¬– that’s more than the current population of Dolores and Mancos combined!Explore More
Ute Mountain Tribal ParkSelected by National Geographic Traveler as one of "80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century," one of only 9 places in the United States to receive this special designationExplore More
Anasazi Heritage Center The Anasazi Heritage Center is a federal museum, research center, and curation facility, with over three million records, samples, and artifacts from public lands throughout southwestern Colorado.Explore More
Cortez Cultural CenterThe Cortez Cultural Center contains information on archaeology and Native American culture. The Center's Museum displays interpretive exhibits on the Basketmaker and Pueblo periods.Explore More
Crow Canyon Archaeological CenterCrow Canyon’s educational programs provide hands-on experience working alongside professional archaeologists at a current excavation site and in the laboratory.Explore More
Culture Continues The Mesa Verde Area represents the ancestral homeland of the current-day Pueblo people, whose nations are now located in an arc stretching from the Hopi villages in Arizona to the Pueblos.Explore More