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Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

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Albany, New York
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Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Spending 9 days in Four Corners area, from Albuquerque through Grand Canyon and back. Wondering how Mesa Verde compares to other sights that include canyons, cave dwelling, pueblos. How would you prioritize and rate them? Are they sufficiently unique to warrant their own visit? Beyond what I put in the title, will also most likely see Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Acoma, and Santa Fe/Taos area.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Mesa Verde Nat Park by far is the best for cliff dwellings. IF visiting during the summer you could spend at least 2 full days visiting the park. Canyon de Chelly is beautiful, only 1 cliff dwelling is accessible and a tour of the canyon floor is recommended. Bandelier is a smaller monument with both a large canyon bottom pueblo ruin and smaller cliff dwellings. All 3 are totally different, but I'd visit Mesa Verde over the others.

9 days isn't really enough to see everything, driving distances are huge. Here's a plan that may get you to most places.

Day 1 - arrive Abq. Stay in Abq this day/night. Visit Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to get information on the many Pueblos and their history

Day 2 - Abq west to Acoma Pueblo, then to Grand Canyon NP. Make sure to get lodging inside the park

Day 3 - GC. stay another night

Day 4 - Drive to Monument Valley, with possible quick stop at Navajo National Monument.

Day 5 - To Mesa Verde Nat Park. Stay in Cortez or inside the park at Farview Lodge

Day 6 - Mesa Verde all day. Stay in Durango for the night

Day 7 - Drive to Taos. Stay the night

Day 8 - Take the High Road to Santa Fe. Stay in Santa Fe

Day 9 - Another Santa Fe day.

Day 10 - To Abq to depart

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2. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

I second the Mesa Verde choice.

What a nice itinerary, Casa!

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3. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Krivenburg, you've set yourself an "impossible task" unless this is the whirlwind tour before you come back for longer.

If the Grand Canyon, I personally would recommend the North Rim, by far, over the South Rim. The South Rim, though OK, has been covered so much in photography etc that you get almost what you expect (spectacular as that may be). To me, the North Rim is full of surprises because of its forested approach and viewpoints. Personally, I would visit the Grand Canyon (North Rim) with Zion, Bryce and environs on a longer, or separate, trip. And use the time saved for more enjoyment of other countryside in NE Arizona, more at Mesa Verde, the Durango to Silverton train, or wherever.

Just a thought..

Edited: 08 March 2014, 05:56
Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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4. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

I also would make the AZ Grand Canyon & UT national parks as a separate trip. There is so much to see and do in northern NM and southern CO that to try to stretch your trip into more in 9 days will be more of a windshield trip than a true vacation. You can also visit other ruins in northern NM - one is the Puye Cliff Dwellings. I love Santa Fe - one of my favorite places and the narrow gauge railroad from Durango is not to be missed.




Edited: 08 March 2014, 16:44
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5. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

+1 for skipping the Grand Canyon this time, but Casa's given you a good itinerary, too. When is this trip? I'd try to make time for the historic Durango-Silverton steam train ride/jeep tour combo if at all possible. No ruins except for old mining towns, but it is almost mandatory when you are in the area, as it's one of the most scenic train rides in the country. I know it is probably almost sacrilege, but one night at the Grand Canyon is enough for me. Yes, I know there are a zillion people who'll argue with me on that one, lol!

I think the Aztec Ruins National Monument is very interesting, too. I had no idea until I visited a couple of summers ago that it actually predates Mesa Verde. Include it if you can.

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6. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

casa azul you seem pretty knowledgable. We are planning almost the same trip and I used your suggestions to add a couple places. Can you or anyone give me a rough idea what we should do or see at these places and about how long we would probably want to spend at each. Thanks, hopefully someone is still following this post

Central Florida...
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7. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Jeff, why don't you start a new post with more specific information about your trip? Where do you want to go, how many days for travel, dates, flying or driving etc? I'm sure the experts will give you great advice. Click Ask A Question to start a new post.

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8. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Mesa Verde wins over these 3. Canyon de Chelly very different. Bandalier small and personable. Hands down what you can see in even 1/2 day at Mesa Verde far surpasses just about any cliff dwelling site. btw Acoma and Taos pueblos are great!

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9. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Thanks, I'm doing Mesa Verde for sure. I was there about 40 years ago but my wife has never been

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10. Re: Mesa Verde vs Canyon de Chelly vs Bandalier

Thanks I did start a new post

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