Roads At Four Corner Sites

Jan 12th, 2012, 05:10 AM
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Roads At Four Corner Sites

I’m contemplating a trip to Four Corners in order to visit Mesa Verde and Canyon DeChelly. I’ve been unable to find much detailed information about the roads in the parks. Specially, I’d like to know if the roads are generally paved. Whether they are narrow roads and run along cliffs and sheer drops. Whether there are a lot of switchbacks, etc. I would appreciate any information about this.
Creel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 05:49 AM
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The roads in the parks are generally very good, paved and wide enough for two cars to pass with plenty of room. That said, the road up to Mesa Verde while nicely paved and wide enough does have switch backs and there are drop offs but with walls or guard rails where needed. I wouldn't say you run along cliffs but you are climbing up to the mesa. Once you are on top of the mesa you are not near the edge unless you walk over to it as when you tour Cliff Palace etc.

Grand Canyon roads are wide, and generally far enough away from the edge so that you have to park and walk over to see it. Driving is not scary at all.

Zion is down in the bottom of the valley so no cliff edges in the park, but if you go in or out to the east you will be on a curvy road that goes through a tunnel. In the park you travel on the park service bus.

Bryce, like Grand Canyon you park and walk over to see into the road is fine.

Arches has a wide smooth road that does have a switchback or two at the start, but not much once you are up in the park.

Canyonlands like Grand canyon you park and walk over to the views.

Monument Valley (a Navajo park not a NP) is paved up to the VC and is unpaved beyond, but there are plenty of tours from there.

Hope that helps.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 05:50 AM
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All of the roads that you are allowed to travel on are paved.

The road from the entrance to the park [from CO SR 160] to the Visitor Center takes 30 - 45 minutes. The road is one lane in each direction. There are a few spots where you can stop and look out across the area and view the Mancos Valley, Cortez etc. There act as pullouts as well, if you wanted to let someone pass you.

The road is not super narrow, but it there are drop offs that might be consider sheer and there are also cliffs that rise along side the road. There are indeed switchbacks due to the climb that raises you up from approx 7000 ft to 8500+ ft.

That said, once you get to the top, the roads are pretty good with still one lane in each direction but they are fairly level and not winding, drop off etc.

The reward of the treasure of Mesa Verde that awaits you, makes the trip up worthwhile.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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This will give you an idea, BUT it was shot by someone driving on a motorcycle and a bit of a risk taker , so consider that.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Canyon de Chelley for the road around the top like GC you pull off, park, walk to view. In the canyon you have to go with a Navajo Guide and the road is not paved but you are at the bottom of the canyon. Hire a guide on your own, don't take the shake and bake tour.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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The roads are good. No need to be concerned.
starrs is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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I have to chuckle - before I moved to the area, my husband took me to MVNP for the first time on his motorcycle. And the ride was a lot like the one in the video. It is much better in a car. I have been dozens of times since and each time, it is a wonderful experience. I find it very inspirational there and it feels hallowed.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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{I think the OP might have issues with mountain roads, as many do. The specific questions seem to point to this. Perhaps a fear of heights, hence the post?}
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 12th, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Canyon DeChelly- roads are not an a problem with regard to your concerns as listed.

One other thing. The road from Durango to Mesa Verde has some spots that might concern you more as there are 2 passes you must go over. There are climbing lanes so you can pull over and let cars pass you if you need it. The road [CO SR 160] is also paved, one lane in each direction except for the passing lanes. No switchbacks, but there are drop offs [with guard rails]and run along cliffs.
DebitNM is offline  
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