I had cliff dwellings on my mind as we departed the dino-extravaganza in Lehi for Mesa Verde National Park. It turns out that the busyness of this epic road trip meant that I didn't really spend much time actually planning for this epic road trip. Luckily, the Mrs. is always there to efficiently complement my many inefficiencies. She booked us a couple nights at the Far View Lodge, located in the Park. That's our cabin in the picture above. Wifey did good.
A stop at the park should really start at the Visitor's Center. It's a fancy looking building near the entrance of the park (it's before you start climbing up the long & curvy road). We decided to head straight up to our lodge. We should have stopped at the Center first…we'll explain why in a bit…oops.
But we made it! It's a decent 25 min or more drive from the entrance of the park to the Far View Lodge up top. We checked-in and parked at our cabin. It was small but perfect in every way. Clean with hard floors, a balcony, bathroom & shower, fridge, and it is in walking distance to the restaurant & bar and the cafeteria-style breakfast place and gift shop. Did I mention pet-friendly? (1/2 of the units are anyway). We could live here.
After relaxing for a bit we started to plan our days. We knew we'd like to try a few of the popular cliff dwelling hikes around the Park…hmmm…what's this? You have to buy tickets and make a reservation for some of the hikes - Balcony House hike at 1:30. OK, sounds good…where do we buy tickets? Ohhhhh…I see…back at the base of the mesa at the Visitor's Center. Huh. The Visitor's Center that's now closed. Oops.
Well, no fear! There is a well-stocked general store and campground halfway down the mountain and there at the ranger booth you can buy next day trail tickets (make sure to ask about their hours too). We drove down as the sun was setting - not bad:)
Well, all's well that ends with a pretty sunset. We stocked up on drinks and snacks at the general store and made it back up to the Lodge. We stopped by the restaurant for a bite and back to the cabin for some shut-eye. A good night sleep is in order if we're gonna climb the crazy cliff dwelling ladders in the morning!!!
Join us here on the blog Thursday to see if we actually made it. More specifically, I wonder if my organized-in-hotel-bookings but deathly-scared-of-heights wifey made it…!
~Paul, Amber, (sigh) Kali the cat
Link to Mesa Verde National Park
Link to the Far View Lodge