Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is a unique National Park and was the first National Park that was established to preserve historical artifacts. The park is located in the 4 Corners region in southwest Colorado.
The park is quite large and home to a number of Ancestral Puebloan Cliff Dwellings. This region was occupied by Ancestral Puebloans for 700+ years. From 500AD to 1200AD they lived on top of the mesas. The cliff dwellings were constructed around 1200AD and were occupied for only 100 years or so before the Puebloans left the region and headed south.
During the peak of their stay in the Mesa Verde region the population was around 5000 with only a small portion living in cliff dwellings.
There are a variety of cliff house tours available with varying levels of difficultly. Most have steep climbs on uneven terrain and ladders (some are 30ft high). The tours can be a workout, especially given the relatively high elevation. The cliff houses are also located deep into the park. The drive from the park entrance to the dwellings takes around 50 minutes.