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Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

Teesside, England
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Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

We are booked for 2 nights at Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde NP in September and I have been thinking about booking their "700 Years Tour", but checking TA reviews it's only 13 out of 16 attractions! So I'm not so sure now!!!

Comments such as:-

* "Pretty disappointed with the quality of this 4 hour tour".

*"I was sadly disappointed. Way too much talk and not nearly enough on-the-ground exploration of the actual ruins."

* Very disappointed when we reached the real reason for the tour, which was the visit to Cliff Palace to find we were being dumped off to join others who had opted to only buy the $3 ticket.

As we only have one full day here how would we best use our time? We don't mind getting up early and don't mind paying for a guide but we don't want to be disappointed!

Are there any other tours to take in the park?

Edited: 01 February 2014, 19:59
Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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1. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

The official guided tours for Mesa Verde and other information about the park can be found at the official website. The tour you mention above is by a concessionaire. See this link for official tour information.

nps.gov/meve/…guided_activities.htm

Windsor, Colorado
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2. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

The park has some suggestions about how to spend one day in Mesa Verde.

www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

Teesside, England
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3. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

Many thanks for your posts, I have decided not to book the "700 Years Tour". I'm going to plan our time there around what the NP service suggests and purchase tickets for the various ranger led tours.

Teesside, England
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4. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

I have checked out the last link you posted.

Not having been to Mesa Verde before . . . . . I take it you can simply drive to the various sites but if you want to visit Cliff Palace, Balcony House or the Long House you have to purchase a ticket first. It would be good to have a guided tour around these places.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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5. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

Yes you can drive to the parking area for Cliff Palace, but you can't enter the ruin without a ranger. Long House you will have to take a tram and then a ranger guided tour. You can access Spruce Tree House area, Mesa Top Ruins Road and many other places by yourself. There are maps and guidebooks available.

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

I haven't taken one of the Aramark tours so I can't comment on the quality of the guides, but I think some of the Trip Advisor reviews give a good overview of the pros and cons. For example, I can see that it would have been nice when visiting with my elderly mom because she could have stayed on the bus with the guide and other visitors with mobility issues while we went on the Cliff Palace tour. One person's "too much talk" might be just what someone else likes. Another reason to take the tour would be if Cliff Palace $3 ranger tour tickets were sold out and that was the only option for visiting it in the time you have. And another possible reason would be if someone were really uncomfortable driving.

Mild to Wild (and possibly others I'm not aware of) in Durango offers guided tours, including a private guided tour. They are a well reviewed company, so their tour might be worth considering for some people, especially someone staying in Durango and not wanting to drive themselves. http://mild2wildrafting.com/mesa-verde.html

Teesside, in your case, it sounds like you'll be very happy booking the ranger tours and exploring on your own. Have fun! It is an amazing and intriguing place.

Teesside, England
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7. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

misspWestSlope - thank you for your post & information. We are indeed happy to explore on our own (we are late 60's but fit & agile) but want to visit as many of the inside locations as possible. I thought about booking the "700 years tour" because I thought it would be a "comprehensive" tour, but when I booked our 2 nights at Far View Lodge I did wonder why the guy seemed to be pushing this tour!

One thing I would like to ask is, can I pre-book these Ranger tour tickets? It would be very disappointing to arrive to find tickets sold out for some of the visits. I have just seen on their website these tickets an be purchased up to 2 days in advance!

Edited: 04 February 2014, 16:40
WestSlope,CO
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8. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

No, you can't prebook the tickets any earlier than the 2 days in advance. So you have 1 full day in the park and will be staying the night before and after at Far View Lodge? Perfect! Try to arrive before the visitor center closing time on your first evening so that you can get your tickets for the following day. You can also get tickets at the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez. (What does the rest of your itinerary look like? Where will you be the previous night? ) Then you'll know your tour times and can plan the rest of your visit around them. You might even want to get tickets for the Cliff Palace Twilight Tour ($10.00, ranger led) to free up more time during the day. It might even be possible to get Twilight Tour tickets for your arrival night, but if not, you can get oriented, see some of the Mesa Top Ruins, watch the sunset, and attend a ranger talk that evening, then do some stargazing. Sometimes they even have ranger programs for that!

WestSlope,CO
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9. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

For future reference, here's the information on getting ranger-led tour tickets:

nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/tour_tickets.htm

The Mesa Verde Visitor Center was located up on the mesa top until last summer, so it was time consuming to make the drive up there the day before to get tour tickets if the visitor wasn't staying at Far View Lodge. It is now located very near the highway, so a little easier to get to the afternoon or evening prior. In the summertime, it closes at 7:00 pm.

Teesside, England
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10. Re: Mesa Verde NP "700 Years Tour"

Hi, once again thanks for your information. Prior to Mesa Verde we will be driving from Kayenta which, I think, is a drive of only about 140 miles so we could get to Cortez or Mesa Verde quite early, possibly around lunch time. That would give us most of the afternoon and evening. As a keen photographer to see a nice sunset would be good!

http://www.bswalesphotography.co.uk/

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