Cortez, Colorado, is the county seat and home rule municipality of Montezuma County, Colorado. Its population was 8,766 at the 2020 census. The city is located at the foot of the San Juan Mountains. It is a picturesque mountain town that has something for everyone. The town is home to numerous museums, historic buildings, and outdoor activities.
Hovenweep National Monument
One of the things to do in Cortez is to visit Hovenweep National Monument. This ancient Anaszi village site sits between Cortez, Colorado, and Blanding, Utah. You can stay in one of the 31 campsites or take a hike. The trail is about 1.6 miles round-trip and has 141 feet of elevation gain. The area is open all year-round, and you can explore the ruins by sunrise or sunset.
You can take your family to this ancient puebloan ruins. The ruins are set in a small canyon, and there’s a hiking trail that connects them all. The park’s entrance fee is free, so you can enjoy the historic site without breaking the bank.
This archaeological site has been in use for tens of thousands of years. The area is home to six ancient village groups built by ancestral Puebloans. These structures are reminiscent of the structures in Europe, and they prove that these people had incredible masonry skills. In addition to the ruins, the park has three hiking trails and an onsite campground.
Visiting this site is an excellent way to learn about the ancient history of the area. President Clinton declared the area a national monument on June 9, 2000. There are tens of thousands of sites and structures scattered throughout the area, and many of them are still used by Native Americans today. The site also has numerous ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings. You can take a hike through the area, and then stop by the nearby picnic areas for a quick lunch.
Another great thing to do in Cortez is to visit the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. This monument is about 20 minutes’ drive from Cortez and contains thousands of individual sites that were inhabited by the ancients. Some of the well-preserved sites include cliff dwellings, farming plots, kivas, petroglyphs, and pictographs.
Mesa Verde National Park
One of the things to do in Cortez is to take a tour of Mesa Verde National Park. It is a scenic park with archeological sites, as well as accessible campsites and visitors’ centers. You can purchase maps and tickets to a guided tour at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center. You can also take self-guided tours of two cliff dwellings, although the Cliff Palace is only accessible through a guided tour.
Another thing to do in Cortez is to visit Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch. The guest ranch is located near the Mesa Verde National Park, so you can enjoy the surrounding beauty while participating in the ranch’s daily activities. You can stay in one of the guesthouses here, as they have large rooms for up to six people.
If you have time, you should take a tour of the Cliff Palace, one of the largest cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. This cliff dwelling was once home to approximately 100 people. Most of the cliff dwellings were small and contained a few rooms.
For those who enjoy hiking, Mesa Verde is a great place to go. The park has several hiking trails. However, dogs are not allowed on the trails. Bring plenty of water, especially in the summer, as the temperature can reach 60 degrees in the desert. You can also visit nearby archeological sites, such as the Canyons of the Ancients. Also, if you’re interested in Native American rock art, you should try the Petroglyph Point National Recreation Trail. This is a 2.4-mile round-trip hike that starts at the Spruce Treehouse.
There is also a museum that focuses on Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings. Its Spruce Tree House is a well-preserved cliff dwelling that is located near the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. From there, take a hike to the petroglyph panel at the top of the mesa. After your hike, you can visit the museum for more information on the history and culture of the ancient Puebloans.
Farm Bistro of Cortez
The Farm Bistro of Cortez is a unique dining experience that offers farm-to-table fare and service. The restaurant is owned by Rusty and Laurie Hall, who also run a local organic farm. A great portion of the food served in the bistro is from their own gardens, and their compost is used to feed their chickens and make soil.
The Farm Bistro of Cortez features farm-to-table food and locally sourced meat and produce. Although it originated as an outlet for an organic farm, it has expanded its sources to include several farmers in the area. They use mostly organic ingredients and source local, seasonal produce. Their menu features dishes that feature the freshest local ingredients.
Camping in Cortez
If you are looking for a great camping experience in Colorado, you should consider camping near the town of Cortez. The town is located between two National Parks, Mesa Verde and Ute Mountain Tribal Park, and it is incredibly rich in culture. You can visit Mesa Verde National Park to see cliff dwellings and other historic structures, and you can also visit the Cortez Cultural Center to learn about the current American Indian culture. There are also numerous hiking trails and parks in the area, as well as a professional 18-hole golf course.
If you’re looking for a campground close to the town of Cortez, you should try the Sleeping Ute RV Park, which is located near the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel. This campground is located only about 12 miles away from Cortez and is also close to Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument.
There are a number of options for campgrounds in Cortez. The La Mesa RV Park, for instance, is close to the Four Corners area, and it features sites up to 65 feet in length. It is also close to Mesa Verde National Park, which is just a few miles away. Additionally, you can head west of Cortez to visit Canyon of the Ancients.
Another great campground near Cortez is the Mesa Verde KOA. This campground has all the amenities you could want. It is located near the town of Cortez and nearby Dolores. There are several private RV parks and forest service campgrounds near Cortez and the Four Corners area.