Colorado Vacation Stops

7 Four Corners Gems Surrounding Mesa Verde National Park

From a thriving restaurant scene to rare opportunities to learn about our nation’s ancient history, Cortez, Mancos and Dolores offer more than just uncrowded trails in one of Colorado’s most undiscovered corners. Here are the top 7 things to do in Mesa Verde country. 

1. Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace Tour at Mesa Verde National Park
Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park. Grant Ordelheide

Why go:Described as the pyramids of North America, the ancient ruins at Mesa Verde hold the early stories of our nation.

Tip:Take the 700 Years Tour that bring you via motorcoach on short hikes to see the earliest houses from 600 A.D. to complex villages built in the 1200s. Sign up for this four-hour tour at

2. Anasazi Heritage Center

Exhibit at the Anasazi Heritage Center near Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Exhibit at the Anasazi Heritage CenterGloria Wadzinski

Why Go: Grind corn, touch ancient pottery sherds and learn to weave on a Pueblo-style loom at this museum in Dolores, Colo., with real artifacts removed from area sites to preserve them.

Tip: This serves as the visitor center for the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, and it digs deep into the 2,000-year history of the area, which culminated in the settlement of Mesa Verde.

3. WildEdge Brewing Collective

WildEdge Brewing Collective Tap Room in Cortez, Colo.
WildEdge Brewing Collective Tap RoomCourtesy Tucker Robinson, Owner/Brewer

Why go: The newest brewery among the area’s five, WildEdge in Cortez is wildly creative with its small-batch brews.

Tip: If it’s on the menu, order the Columbine, made from kettle-soured wheat beer refermented with boysenberries. Its bright magenta color captures the beauty of this concoction.

4. Cortez Cultural Center

Native dancers near Mesa Verde National Park
Native DancersPhoto by Lapita Aruiso courtesy of Mesa Verde Country

Why Go:Housed in a 1909 building, this center features free Native American dances Monday through Saturday at 7 p.m. late May through the beginning
of September.

Tip:Buy tickets here for culinary and ranch tours at local farms and ranches. Transportation and lunch are included. Tours start spring 2018.

5. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

A dig by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colo.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colo.Courtesy Mesa Verde Country

Why go: Tour an excavation site, join a dig or analyze artifacts at this center founded three decades ago on the belief the public plays a critical role in archaeology.

Tip:Go on a free one-hour walking tour to learn more about Crow Canyon’s archaeological research. Or dive in for an Archaeology Day Tour.

6. Dolores River Campground

Airstream trailer cabin at the Dolores RV Campground
Airstream trailer cabin at the Dolores RV CampgroundPhoto by Billie Beyhan courtesy of Mesa Verde Country

Why go: Fall asleep to the sounds of the Dolores River in a yurt, vintage trailer or cabin at the Dolores River Campground. Or pitch your tent or pull up an RV.

Tip: Reserve the 1950 Spartan Spartanette, a vintage trailer with original woodwork, a retro kitchen and a private patio.

7. Cortez’ Dining Scene

Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez, Colo.
Sutcliffe VineyardsMichael Kanemoto

Why go: Mesa Verde’s nationally recognized Metate Cafe has served as a springboard for park chefs to open their own restaurants. Don’t miss its thriving farm-to-table food scene and two vineyards, Sutcliffe Vineyards and Guy Drew Vineyards.

Tip: Some of our favorite restaurants include The Farm Bistro, Stonefish Sushi & More in Cortez and Absolute Bakery in Mancos.


For more information
Colorado Welcome Center
(970) 565-8227
928 E Main St, Cortez, CO 81321