The spectacular mountains, mesas, and canyons of Mesa Verde Country and the Four Corners region have been home to Native American communities for several thousands of years. The earliest inhabitants were nomadic peoples who lived here from at least 10,000 B.C., sustaining themselves by hunting and gathering edible plants. The Ancestral Puebloans (formerly referred to as the Anasazi) occupied the Four Corners from approximately A.D. 1 to A.D. 1300 and left remarkable remnants of their civilization. Whispers of this civilization still echo throughout this ancient land, where cliff dwellings and petroglyphs stand the test of time.
Contrary to popular belief, the Ancestral Puebloans did not become a lost civilization. They are alive and well, their descendants living in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Although times have changed since they left their cliff dwellings, a cultural continuum can be traced over 2,000 years. The Ancestral Puebloans created a thriving civilization building raised towers and hundred-room cities into the cliff walls. Mesa Verde is known as North America’s richest archaeological preserve because of the several thousand ancient sites in the area. Many sites are open to the public for visitation, and many local museums and institutions are dedicated and interpreting the region’s culture and archaeology. The most famous of these is award-winning Mesa Verde National Park, but visiting the many other sites throughout the area provides a deeper look into the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Puebloan people.
With all the Four Corners lodging options in and around Mesa Verde Country, you can spend days exploring and venturing through the area. One day just isn’t enough to take in all the history, culture, craft, local foods, wines, and so much more.