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.