Colorado's incredible Mesa Verde National Park turns 117 years old this year. Have you been to see the cliff dwellings in southwestern Montezuma County?

The driving tour on Mesa Top Loop Road is a great way to view some of the best features in the park at your own pace. Guided tours and hikes to the cliff dwellings are also available via the park's website.

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Where is Mesa Verde National Park?

Mesa Verde National Park is located on U.S. Route 160 east of Cortez, Colorado. It's about a 20-minute drive from the front gate into the park before you get to the cliff dwellings. You'll pass lodges, restaurants, and gift shops on the way in. Make a pit stop before you start the tours.

What Happened to the Ancient Puebloans?

Mesa Verde is believed to have been inhabited mainly between about 600 A.D to 1300 A.D. The inhabitants relied heavily on rainfall and snow for water. The Puebloans are believed to have been hit by a drought that lasted more than 20 years before it finally forced them to move on. It must have been difficult to leave all that hard work behind.

Must-See at Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde was certified as the world's 100th International Dark Sky Park. Find out more about the park's night sky programs here.

Luminaria Open House at Mesa Verde is another breathtaking event usually held in the winter. Paper lanterns are placed inside the ancient dwellings, and the warm glow from the lanterns brings the Ancient Puebloans back to life for the evening.

Mesa Verde: 10 Cool Facts about Colorado's Amazing National Park

Summer is a great time of year to visit Coloraod's Mesa Verde National Park. Located near Cortez, Colorado, the park is home to thousands of cliff-dwellings created by the Ancient Pueblo people. Keep scrolling to see pictures and learn ten cool facts to inspire a visit to see this park for yourself.

LOOK: This Canyon of the Ancients Bungalow is Not Far From Mesa Verde

We knew it wouldn't be long before more Airbnbs started showing up in Colorado's Canyon of the Ancients. Check out this bungalow hideout near Cortez.

MORE: Visit Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

This extreme National Park features cliffs half a mile high, and some of the oldest rocks anywhere on earth. Scroll through the photos below to see inside this incredible canyon that is home to several fun hikes and breathtaking overlooks.

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