Outside the Area, Grand Canyon
After we left the Grand Canyon National Park, our next destination was Mesa Verde. This is more than just a daytrip away from the Grand Canyon although you could probably drive there in one day.We were headed for Denver where my aunt and uncle (my father's brother and SIL) lived.
Because we were coming from California, we didn't get to see Bryce National Park or Zion National Park in Utah on our way to the Grand Canyon. (They are about 2 hours drive apart, and Zion is about 350 miles north of the Grand Canyon, AZ) We also missed Pipe Springs National Monument, and Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Neither did we make a detour through the Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert or the Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The latter site is 160 miles from Mesa Verde. We did stop briefly at the area known as Four Corners, the only spot where four states actually meet in the USA. This actual site is on Indian land
Mesa Verde is a more intimate site than the Grand Canyon, and is definitely worthwhile
I know we visited Spruce Tree House which is the third largest cliff dwelling. It was constructed between AD 1211 and 1278 by the ancestors of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwest. The dwelling contains about 130 rooms and 8 kivas (kee-vahs), or ceremonial chambers, built into a natural cave measuring 216 feet (66 meters) at greatest width and 89 feet (27 meters) at its greatest depth. It is thought to have been home for about 80 people.
.. Due to the protection of the overhanging cliff, Spruce Tree House had deteriorated very little through the years
Mesa Verde is
- 427 miles to the South Rim via Grants and Flagstaff
- 303 miles to the South Rim via the Navajo Trail
- 413 miles to the North Rim via the Navajo Trail