Mesa Verde is a very interesting place to visit. People like to go see the stone cliff dwellings that the Asante Indians built. Most people like to go see how the Anaszi lived. There are many different flowers and trees on the mesa and many different species of animals that live there. Mesa Verde is a year-round park but some of the attractions are closed in the winter.
Over seven hundred years ago, Indians called the Anasazi( a Navajo word for ancient ones"), built high cliff dwellings of stone along the canyon walls of southwestern Colorado. Some of them are still standing today. The Anasazi lived there from about 550 to 1270 A.D. The dwellings were discovered in 1888 by Richard Wetherill. The park was established in 1906 and named Mesa Verde (Spanish for green table), because it was covered with forests of juniper and pinon pines.
The altitude of Mesa Verde is anywhere between 7,000 to 8,500 feet. The ancient dwellings are located in the high cliffs above the Montezumo Valley. The dark yellowish orange sandstone has been eroded into cliff-forming flanks. This allows visitors to see how the Anisazi made progress in the homes they built. They started off in pit houses, then moved into pueblos built above ground, and finally to cliff dwellings before they dissappeared.
Tourists can go see how the Anisazi lived by visiing places like Wetherill Mesa Loop and Chapin Mesa. Visitors can also find this at the Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. It has more than 200 living rooms and many of them are undergrond ( known as " kivas"). It is up to four stories high and is built like an apartment building. A tour of Balcony Houses is also very interesting. Mesa Verde has the most famous and best preserved exampler of ancient culture in North America.
There are many differant types of trees and flowers that grow on the mesa. Pinon pine trees and Utah juniper forest cover most of the mesa. There are also quaking aspen, ponderase pine, Dougles fire, and scrub oak trees. Lupine Indian paint brush, maripasa lily, and sweet pea are some of the colorful wild flowers that can be found on the mesa. The trees and flowers make the mesa very scenic.
Among the mammals that live on the mesa are mule, deer, bighorns, coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, black bears, and foxes. There are well over 100 spieces of birds including jays, owls, woodpeckers, crows, and hawks. The reptile family inculdes mainly lizards, but many types of snakes are also found on the mesa. There are also mountain lions and cougar, but they are rarley seen. Every once in a while, a peregrine falcon can be seen on the mesa, but they are an endangered species.
There are many different places to stay while visiting the park. Far View Lodge is located inside the parkand. It has a restaurant. There are cabins and campsites available at the Campground at Morefield Village. The Visitor Center will have all the information about activities offered at the park. Tourists can take a scenic drive to the famous museum. Other activities include guided tours, hiking, horseback riding, and possibly cross-country sking in the winter.
This park is a year-round park, but some of the attractions are closed in the winter. Snow falls as early as October and lasts as late as May. Winter lows dip down to between 10 degrees F to 20 degreesF(-2 degrees C and 7degreesC). Summertime tempatures get as high as 80 degrees F and 90 degrees F (27degrees C and 32 degrees C). There are many thunderstorms on the mesa during the summer.
There are many different places to stay while visiting the park. Far View Lodge is located inside the park and it has a restaurant. There are cabins and campsites available on the campgrounds at Morfield Village. The visitors center will have all the information about activities offered at the park. Tourists can take a scenic drive to the famous museum. Other activiites include guided tours, hiking, horseback riding, and possibly cross country skiing in the winter.
Most people who visit Mesa Verde are interested in seeing how the Anasazi Indians lived. Tourists also like to see the cliff dwellings that the Indians built and the other works of early man found in the museum. The mesa is a great place to visit because of its interesting history, the beautiful scenery, and the many different kinds of recreation and activities.
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