After a short hop from Durango, we planted the RV into the Mesa Verde RV Resort right outside the main entrance to Mesa Verde National Park.
The RV park itself was pretty nice. It had a nice pool, 2 hot tubs. Even though I only used them once (since we had full hookups), but bathroom and shower facilities were very clean and among some of the nicer ones I’ve used in RV campgrounds around the country.
Having come from Durango, it was initially a little shock for Malika to see the more deserty look. You’re parking on gravel and the trees are short. Not much greenery compared to Durango. I think she was just a wee bit sad to leave Durango, but I knew the desert was just going to be part of this trip.
The campground’s position is ideal for visiting Mesa Verde. Drive about a half a mile and you are at the visitor center. If you need any supplies, you drive about 9 miles down the road into Cortez and you’ve got everything you need, including a Walmart Supercenter.
Oh, about the ever-important internet access…
It was pretty bad, actually. Campground wifi was spotty and was very slow (almost unusable) except early in the mornings and randomly throughout the day. And unfortunately, even our Verizon Wireless had a pretty bad connection. The phones would say LTE service was available, but they couldn’t download a thing. We could make phone calls, but internet access was hard to come by.
But, we weren’t there to surf the net. We were there to visit Mesa Verde.
Over 2 days, we did 3 cliff dwelling tours:
My personal favorite was Balcony House just because you had to climb some big ladders and climb through some tunnels. I like that kind of thing. The kids liked it, too.
Mesa Verde also showed us the constant battle in this area with wildfires. While we didn’t see any fires actively burning, the hilltops were full of signs of past fires.
Most of these fires took place quite some time ago, but the Juniper trees take quite awhile to come back so the scars are long-lasting.
Our first day, the 2 tours we did were right in the middle of the day. And, yes, it was hot. Our tour to Long House the next morning was at 10AM, however. The temps were much better. In fact, we had a picnic up there after the tour and the weather was quite nice and breezy.
Oh, and while they do tell you to drink water (for obvious reasons), don’t drink SO much that you have to pee in the middle of a tour. My daughter (and hence us) figured that out the inconvenient way. Thankfully it was right at the end, so my wife and daughter had to high-tail it up the hill so she could handle the situation.
Overall, Mesa Verde was a nice visit and a nice park.
Next up… Monument Valley.