Suggestion for one day near Mesa Verde

Jul 28th, 2003, 04:30 PM
  #1  
KEC
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Suggestion for one day near Mesa Verde

Hello~
My husband and I are chaperoning a school trip to Colorado. With the students, we will be going to Mesa Verde, Durango and Four Corners. We will have a half day or a day (we won't know until we get there) to ourselves. We will have use of a car.

I am looking for sugggestions for places to go within that time frame. I know that we won't have much time, but we haven't been to that area of the country, and are interested in seeing some sights (even if only briefly).

Someone told us that Arches is a good place to go. Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
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Jul 28th, 2003, 05:16 PM
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I was at Four Corners and Mesa Verde in April. You didn't mention how long you plan to stay at Mesa Verde, but you could easily spend the extra time at Mesa Verde. Depending on the age of the students, I think crawling around the ruins would be fun and educational.

I've posted about Four Corners before, but needless to say, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit there again - ho, hum. In any case, I can't imagine spending more than 15 minutes there.

Heading toward Cortez from Mesa Verde is a wonderful pottery place called Mesa Verde Pottery (www.mesaverdepottery.com). All the items are reproductions, but there is a large selection, shipping is very cheap, and the prices are very reasonable. I avoid these places like the plague, but I really enjoyed seeing the reproductions of the various Native American styles. Perfect for a souvenirs.

Mike Honeycutt
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Jul 28th, 2003, 05:51 PM
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Arches is a great place but you're looking at driving 3 hours each way and that won't give you much time for exloring the park and there is a lot to explore.

I'm with Mike, I would spend the extra time in Mesa Verde. If you really want to go somewhere else then I would recommend a drive on the Million Dollar Hwy to Silverton. This will take about 2 hours each way but the drive is more than 1/2 the adventure. Very scenic.

If you want to see some different ruins you might make a trip over to Hovenweep National Monument in Utah.

Utahtea
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Jul 29th, 2003, 06:38 AM
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I agree with Utahtea's suggestion to drive the Million Dollar Highway. If you have a whole day, you might also consider the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, taking the train up and the bus back. I wouldn't go to Arches if you only have a half day available. It's okay if you have a full day. From Mesa Verde, you can also drive north toward Telluride, along the Dolores River. The colors are great there in the fall. When are you making this trip?
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Jul 30th, 2003, 07:44 AM
  #5  
KEC
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Thanks for the suggestions! I will be printing this out & bringing it with me!

The trip is at the end of August. I believe that we will be spending a whole guided day at Mesa Verde with the students (if it's not enough time, we'll think about going back and spending more time). The trip is at a place called Crow Canyon, and the students will learn how to do an archaeological dig & log items founds, make pottery, learn about the history of the area, etc. It should be interesting. The students are 6th graders.

Unfortunately, we won't find out until we get there whether we will have a whole day to ourselves or a half day. If we have a half day, we have to be back by 2:00, so we will probably leave really early. We are hoping to go somewhere really interesting that inspires us to go back to Colorado on our own someday!

With the students, we will be spending time in Durango for a half day, I think. Also, we just do a brief stop at Four Corners on our way to the site.

Please keep the suggestions coming
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Jul 30th, 2003, 09:21 AM
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My kids have each gone to Crow Canyon on a school trip (4th or 5th grade). They both liked it. Given the fact that you will be in 2 potentially hot places, I'd recommend that you head for an alpine area for your time off. If it happens to be cool and wet, you might prefer driving to Hovenweep NM, about an hour west of Cortez.

With 6 hours, you could drive the whole loop to Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Dolores, and back. It would take the whole 6 hours without time for longer stops. It might also be worth just driving up to Telluride and hanging out there for a few hours.

If you like hiking uphill, driving to Trout Lake, just before Telluride, would be another great idea. It would probably take about 1-1 1/2 hours to get to this lovely mountain lake. From Trout Lake, you can hike up to the divide between the Dolores and the Animas Rivers for a spectacular view.

If you have a 4WD, I'd highly recommend the trip up to the top of La Plata Canyon, to enjoy a beautiful alpine environment. If I can make this drive, anyone can. To get there, drive east on 160 for about 30 minutes, to just before the town of Hesperus. At the Kennebec Cafe (good food), you'll turn left onto La Plata Canyon Road, and drive up the road for 6 miles or so, until you reach a parking area at a saddle. At this saddle, the view is of mountains laid out for 180 degrees on front of you. Wildflowers are everywhere. There is some easy, level hiking you can do from that parking area. I highly recommend the walk to Taylor Lake. A 2WD car with fair to good ground clearance can drive up the canyon for several miles to a parking area by a waterfall. From there, you can hike up the rest of the way, catch a ride up, or just enjoy the lushness of the canyon. It's no problem to catch a ride on this road, even if they put you in the back of a pickup, because the driver will be averaging about 5mph.
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Aug 11th, 2003, 07:58 AM
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I would drive from Dolores up to Telluride and spend whatever time you have sightseeing there. You can take the free gondola ride up to Mountain Village and if you have time do a 1/2 day jeep tour to Imogene pass. The views from the pass are stunning!! Take layered clothing and bottled water. We booked with Telluride Outside-Ken Hayes
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Aug 14th, 2003, 12:37 AM
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Very near from Mesa verde, but without the crowd is Ute Moutain tribal park(they have a web site): very interesting ruins and history from Anasazis to Utes, with very competent guides and i'm sure they can organize a
whole "educationa" day for you and your youngs...
We were there 10 days ago(see report "2 weeks in the four corners") and the remote tour in Ute Moutain Tribal park has been on of our great days...
Erik and Anny Monpetit-France
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Aug 15th, 2003, 04:45 PM
  #9  
KEC
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Hi everyone~
We are leaving on Sunday, and still have not decided where we are going to go on our "day off" - it will just be my husband and I , not the students.

We are thinking of Moab (Canyonlands and/or Arches), Silverton, Durango, and all of the other suggestions. It looks like we will have a full day.

We will be spending an entire guided day at Mesa Verde, so I don't think we'll want to go there.

We want to see as much as possible of some very beautiful scenery. This isn't usually my travel philosophy (usually prefer to spend more time in one place), but this is a different kind of trip for us. Hopefully it will make us want to return on our own in the future.

Any more suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Aug 15th, 2003, 11:49 PM
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Arches is nice but it's a long way to go there.
canyonlands, needles district is very interesting, with anice scenery, and if you like hiking, there are a lot of possibilities(from Big spring overlook to confluence overlook-14 miles, but easy-very wild and the confluence overlook is stupendous).
You can also think about Monument valley(not so far and magic) or Canton de Chelley, with both hikes or overlooks...
Good trip
Erik MONPETIT.
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Aug 15th, 2003, 11:53 PM
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Mistake on my precedent message-hike is "only" 11 miles long...
No strenous climb or down, only to walk.
There are numerous easier and shorter hikes.
Erik.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 01:20 PM
  #12  
KEC
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Thanks! I am printing these all out.

Any more thoughts before I leave tomorrow morning?
KEC is offline  
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