Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde, Ancient Pueblo Cliff Dwelling, Colorado

Cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. Photo Credit: YinYang (iStock).

A UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a history of attracting more than 500,000 visitors annually, Mesa Verde National Park is one Colorado destination that can't be missed. Not only is the landscape stunning, the educational experience it provides is unmatched.

Spanning more than 50,000 acres, this national park is considered the largest archaeological preserve in the United States, protecting Ancestral Puebloan artifacts at more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.

While the most popular and best-known activity at this destination involves visiting the stunning cliff dwelling sites, camping and hiking are also available. It's also worth noting that this park has a tendency to feel much less crowded than other national parks in Colorado and that it's an 'International Dark Sky Park,' meaning the starry night views here are incredible.

Located in Montezuma County, the closest city to this destination is Cortez, Colorado, though Durango is also a short drive away.

Learn more about visiting this park here.

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