Mesa Verde celebrates national parks centennial with 2 special events

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Mesa Verde National Park, St. George News

MESA VERDE, Colo. — The National Park Service turns 100 next month – on Aug. 25 to be precise – and the Mesa Verde Country Visitor Information Bureau invites visitors to come explore Mesa Verde National Park. As part of the centennial, the park will be hosting two special events in August.

On Aug. 19, as part of the “Four Corners Lecture Series,” Larry Gore will present “Happy Birthday, National Parks Service. 100 Years of Birth & Growth of America’s Best Idea” in the Chapin Mesa Museum auditorium. The presentation is free, but park entrance fee is required. For more information, go to the National Park Service event listing.

On Aug. 25, there will be a curation tour of the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center. This one-hour tour will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the artifacts and archives associated with Mesa Verde’s famous former residents. The tour is limited to 15 people, and preregistration is suggested. Call 970-529-5074 to register.

Mesa Verde Country is located in southwest Colorado near the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, which encompasses over 80 square miles of historic treasures, ancient relics and trails. The park has daily tours (both guided and self-guided), an on-site restaurant and lodging. The nearby towns of Cortez, Dolores and Mancos also provide accommodations, dining, outdoor fun and visitor services.

Columnist Kat Dayton's son longingly views Mesa Verde's Cliff House from across the gorge on the family's quest they call "Project Replica." Mesa Verde, Colorado, April 2015 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News
Columnist Kat Dayton’s son longingly views Mesa Verde’s Cliff House from across the gorge on the family’s quest they call “Project Replica.” Mesa Verde, Colorado, April 2015 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

Named the “Number One Historic Monument in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime – The World’s Greatest Destinations” by National Geographic, Mesa Verde National Park is one of the nation’s first World Heritage sites and the largest archaeological preserve in the country.

Two national byways pass through Mesa Verde Country: San Juan Scenic Byway (known as “America’s Most Beautiful Drive”) and the Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway.

In addition to the national park, Mesa Verde Country is loaded with other archaeological attractions: Hovenweep National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, the Anasazi Heritage Center and the Cortez Cultural Center.

According to a press release from the Mesa Verde Country visitor information bureau, mountain biking enthusiasts have recognized Mesa Verde Country as one of the next great mountain biking destinations.

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