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The Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, home to hundreds of cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi People between A.D. 450-1300. Mesa Verde is a World Cultural Heritage Park designated by UNESCO and you can spend days here, exploring over 4,500 archaeological sites and extraordinary setting. Most cliff dwellings are only accessible via a ranger-led tour and tickets must be purchased in person at the Far View Visitor Center. Make this your first stop if you plan on visiting Cliff Palace, Balcony House or Long House. Visit the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, which features displays and dioramas of Ancestral Puebloan life. The nearby 130-room Spruce Tree House is one of the few free self-guided tours. The 1/2 mile round trip walking tour explores one of the best preserved cliff dwellings. Consider a scenic side trip on Mesa Top Loop Road, a six mile driving loop with short paved trails along the route to access some of the sites and views including Sun Point Overlook and Square Tower House. Up for a hike? Delve into the fascinating past on the 2.4 mile round-trip, Petroglyph Point Trail which begins near Spruce Tree House, or the 2.4 mile round-trip Spruce Canyon Trail.
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