Archive for the ‘Mesa Verde’ Category

BOGO Lodging to Celebrate National Parks Week

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Let’s go BOGO. Who doesn’t love a buy one get one free lodging bargain? When it’s combined with free entrance to a U.S. National Park during the week of April 17- 25, your spring vacation is a budgetary winner. Sure, you could camp at Shenandoah or Yellowstone, but look at these bargains:


Far View Lodge

At Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado, explore the ancient cliff dwellings of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visits to Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House require a ticket on a ranger-led tour. Be sure to save some time for hiking one of the many trails or visiting the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. From your room at Far View Lodge, high on the mesa’s shoulder, the view encompasses three states and all the stars you can count in the dark, night sky. Rooms are priced at $99 with a consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 22 – 30, 2010. And, entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is free through the end of April.

Experience Virginia’s beautiful spring with a stay at Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. The historic resort, built in 1886, offers inspiring views of the Shenandoah Valley. But don’t spend all of your time looking out the window from the highest point on Skyline Drive — take a hike, go biking or visit one of the local wineries. Book one night for $125 and receive the second consecutive night free. Offer valid from April 18 – 29, 2010.


Kalaloch Lodge

Olympic National Park in Washington encompasses rain forests, rugged beaches and mountain splendor. Confused about what to see first? Why not split your visit into two Olympic experiences? First take in the rugged Pacific coastline from your accommodations at Kalaloch Lodge. The bird-watching paradise includes hiking, biking and beach-combing opportunities. Next, head 12 miles into the heart of Olympic National Forest for a stay at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Soak away tired muscles after an invigorating hike through an old growth rainforest. Both Kalaloch Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are offering accommodations priced at $157 with a second consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 17 – 25, 2010.

Shenandoah, Mesa Verde, Olympic — I’m having a hard time deciding which National Park BOGO lodging adventure to choose. How about you?

Photos courtesy ARAMARK Parks and Destinations.

Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet.

Trip Planner for Mesa Verde National Park

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado is an archeological treasure trove, with more than 4,000 ancient sites that offer insight into the people who made their home here years ago. It’s also filled with amazing views of sandstone landscapes and majestic mesas.

Famous for: Fascinating cliff dwellings, abandoned by the Ancestral Puebloans (once known as the Anasazi Indians) who lived in the area for more than 700 years until 1300 A.D.

Admission: $15 for seven-day vehicle pass, which covers everyone in the car, from Memorial Day to Labor Day; $10 in the “off season.”

Excellent ranger-led tours at Mesa Verde National Park.

Families with young kids will like: The hour-long guided tour of the Cliff Palace, which requires climbing 5 eight- to ten-foot ladders. Even my two-year-old could get up the ladder himself (with Daddy close behind); don’t let the “climbs” frighten you from bringing young children.

Families with teenagers will like: The hour-long guided tour of Balcony House, which involves climbing a 32-foot ladder and crawling through a 12-foot tunnel.

All travelers will appreciate: The knowledgeable park rangers who lead excellent tours of the cliff dwellings.

Easy sightseeing: Drive the six-mile Mesa Top Loop Road with pull-outs to short, paved trails that lead to archeological sites and cliff dwelling overlooks.

Camping information: Morefield Campground has a whopping 435 tent, RV and trailer sites, so it’s likely there will be a spot for you when you visit. Reservations are accepted (required for group and full hook-up RV sites) via ARAMARK, which operates the campground. It’s open early May through October.

More nearby lodging: The Far View Lodge, also operated by ARAMARK, is the only other lodging option inside the park. Don’t expect the Ritz; these are very basic rooms in Southwest decor.

Best time to visit for ideal weather: June is a lovely time to visit Mesa Verde National Park — it’s typically well after spring snowfall, but before hot mid-summer temperatures hit.

Best time to visit to avoid crowds: Mesa Verde is open all year round, and the winter season is usually quiet. However, note that some roads are closed and some cliff dwellings are not open in the off season. Check this guide for operating hours and seasons for details.

Nearest major cities: Durango, Colorado, is 1.5 hours away and Cortez is about an hour away by car.

More info can be found at the always helpful Mesa Verde National Park Service site.

Read about other U.S. National Parks in Colorado:

Photo by Kara Williams.