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How much time in Mesa Verde?

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How much time in Mesa Verde?

We will be staying in Durango for a few days and plan a day trip to Mesa Verde? How much time realistically will we need to get the major highlights and see one of the houses? If we arrive after noon are we not likely to be able to get tickets to Cliff Palace or Balcony House? We have so many things we want to do in Durango I don't know that we can give Mesa Verde an entire day. We will have a fourteen year old girl and 9 year old boy travelling with us.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

I would give Mesa Verde an entire day, especially with kids but that is just me. My son has loved Mesa Verde since he was a little kid. If you arrive at noon (leaving Durango at 11am) you may still be able to get Cliff Palace or Balcony House tours. If not you can still visit Spruce Tree House. Plan on at least 5 hours inside the park. Visit Spruce Tree House and Museum, Mesa Top Ruins Road, Farview Ruin and stop at Park Point for some great views. Take along a picnic lunch as there is a great picnic area near Spruce Tree House.

Cumbria, England
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2. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

We were on a bit of a tight schedule and only spent half the day there in June. Ideally, I'd have like to have spent a litte longer but we did a tour of the loop and stopped briefly at most places in between booking our tickets for Cliff House and our tour starting (about an hour's gap). Cliff House was magical and a highlight of our 18 day trip - don't miss it. Having seen it, I was happy and didn't feel that we'd missed out on too much.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

We spent a full day in Mesa Verde a year ago. Had it been summertime, I would have definitely wanted another half day. Some areas were closed in October so we were able to do it all in one long day. Mesa Verde is far more interesting than Durango. Of all the things we did while in the Durango area, I would choose Mesa Verde as the #1 thing to see, particularly if you have children! As another poster urged, pack a picnic. There are many places to stop, but little food available in the park.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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4. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

The Mesa Verde website has a great page for planning your trip - www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/things2do.htm is the link. The website has much more information that will give you help on planning a great trip. Hope you have a wonderful time in southwest Colorado.

very rural Colorado
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5. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

Realistically, traveling from Durango or vicinity, Mesa Verde will take most of the day but is well worth it. First time visitors have been heard to comment, "why did the ancient peoples build their cliff dwellings so far from the highway?"

The drive in from the main gate on US Hwy 160 is slow, winding, and an absolutely beautiful drive. The children, at 14 & 9, are the perfect age for this trip, and if you and they can be persuaded to get up early and get going, you can get into the park early, visit the vistor's center, get early tickets for either Balcony House or Cliff Palace (kids love Balcony House with it's long ladders but Cliff Palace is a most significant ruin, take your pick and maybe do just one if time is critical.) Spruce Tree House is a self guided tour with a great little descending hike. If you are visiting this August plan on hot temps by midday and wear that sunscreen.

We always take a picnic and find a shady picnic site but the food at the park concessions is quite good if that works better for you. Hope you keep Mesa Verde on your list and have grand fun in Southwest Colorado.

Kansas City...
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6. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

Get there early to get your tickets for one of the dwellings. We were there at 9:00 and there was a line around the building. The drive on top probably will take two or three hours. I can say a half a day would be fine, maybe not the most in depth trip to mesa but would get the highlights!

Colorado
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7. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

Our first trip to Mesa Verde was when my boys were about 8 and 9, and we spent a half day. They were so upset that we had to leave (we were with family from out of state). They insisted that we return the following May and spend two entire days there from the time it opened until closing, taking in as much as possible. I would recommend making more time for Mesa Verde, and leaving out something in Durango. Mesa Verde is like no place else -- the kids will love it. It has history, hiking, scenery,and so much for the imagination. It's a wonderful place. I would try to at least spend an entire day at Mesa Verde, getting there early in the morning (when things first open) and stay until the last tour. Bring an ice chest with drinks and lots of snacks.

White Plains, New...
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8. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

There is a lot to do in Mesa Verde and it is a 45 minute drive from Durango. There are the sites that require tickets but there is the loop ride where youget out of the car and see great sites and the tram ride at witherhill mesa that is the best . The walk at Spruce house was wonderful. We enjoyed all the other stuff besides the ticket stuff. Some of the walks showed beautiful things that your children would enjoy. Since you are in Durango go on the Silverton train and see beautiful America remember limited cell service while in the park!!!!!!

9. Re: How much time in Mesa Verde?

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