Something magical happens, however, once visitors step onto the quaint, historic streets of town. They find themselves smiling as they dial up a room at one of the stunning mountainside bed and breakfasts or the sweet in-town motels. Many decide to lengthen their stay and spend the night in a lakeside yurt, camp and hike in the wild lands at 12,000 feet or bed down inside a historic fire tower with 360-degree views of aspen-laden forests. Mancos was recently named "One of the Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016" by Smithsonian.com for its Western charm, thriving artisan community and proximity to some of Colorado's most treasured landscapes.
The Mancos Creative District is also a Certified Colorado Creative District, thanks to the art-y atmosphere created by 150 area artists, galleries and more.
The community traces its roots back to the ranching, farming and timber industries that started back in the 1870s. Ranching is still a mainstay, and the Wild West spirit is alive and well. The city is situated on the Mancos River, a rich riparian habitat for wildlife and a birder’s delight.
The downtown is a designated historic gallery district that includes the celebrated Mancos Opera House and the picturesque first buildings constructed in town. Mancos boasts little shops that brim with unique gifts and wonderful art. Local artisans craft everything from beer and rum to leather goods and handmade Western hats.
If the stomach growls, visitors can choose from a impressive roster of coffee roasters, burger joints and other eateries serving local organic fare and regionally grown and produced wines — not to mention an old-time bar from way-back-when.
Come and see why Louis L’Amour made the Mancos area his home and the settings for his books. Explore the primal connection between Mancos, the home of the Wetherill family who discovered the mysterious cliff dwellings, and Mesa Verde National Park.
Read a Mesa Verde-area itinerary.