Located eight miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, many consider Cortez the cultural center of Mesa Verde Country.
With more than 600 acres of parks, trails, and open space there's plenty of room to play. To the north, you’ll find Carpenter Natural Area with 176 acres and easy access to trails. To the south, enjoy the 122 acre Hawkins Preserve where you can hike, bike, rock climb and star-gaze from the slick rock trails to the canyon edge overlooking McElmo Creek. There are even excavated archaeological sites in the preserve.
Canyons of the Ancients
The ideal jumping-off point for many adventures, Cortez has a wide variety of lodging, shopping and dining opportunities including local breweries and wineries. A weekly Farmer’s Market features the agricultural heritage and organic foods which you'll find at many restaurants in the region. Several exceptional galleries, museums, and trading posts reflect the culture and creativity of the Southwest. Cortez remains the trading center of the Four Corners region and has been for more than 2,000 years with artistry passed down through generations to create a community which celebrates the traditions of the past and a collective vision for the future. Visit the Cortez Cultural Center to see what makes this area so special.
In the heart of town you’ll find beautiful Parque de Vida with fishing pods, a BMX trail, and miles of sidewalks leading to an outdoor amphitheater for summer festivals. The Cortez Rec Center has something for every age group: pools, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, indoor basketball courts, and a fitness area. A 50 meter outdoor pool with a 125 foot double loop water slide, a splash pad with spraying jets and play features including a 60 gallon dumping bucket provide relief from summer heat. All of these amenities are just one block north of Main Street near the Colorado Welcome Center where you can purchase tickets for ranger-guided tours at Mesa Verde National Park.
- Tour Mesa Verde National Park
- Hike or ride to archeological sites in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
- Visit Hovenweep National Monument
- Attend American Indian dances at the Cortez Cultural Center
- Ute Mountain-Mesa Verde Birding Festival in May
- Indian Arts and Culture Festival held Memorial Day Weekend
- Ute Mountain Roundup in June
- Mesa Verde Country Food
- Wine and Art Festival in August
Amenities & Services
- Conquistador Golf Course
- Disc Golf Course
- 294 acres of parks, trails, and nature preserves