Folks usually discover Mancos' truly Western landscape and culture on their way to somewhere else. Just 6 miles east of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, the town's visitor center is the perfect stop for travelers in search of park information or a good place to eat.

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Mancos Creative District located in the historical downtown
Mancos Creative District located in the historical downtown
Mancos State Park
Historic Mancos sign
Historic Mancos sign
Mancos' Outlier Cellars cider
Mancos' Outlier Cellars cider

Something magical happens, however, once visitors step onto the quaint, historical streets of town that once inspired Western writer Louis L'Amour (it was here, in fact, where he wrote many of his beloved novels).

The historical buildings (including the Columbine Bar, one of the oldest operating bars in Colorado), Main Street cattle drives and quaint shops keep that Western feeling alive. What sets Mancos apart from so many old Western towns is the wave of artisans who've left their indelible mark on town.

The beauty of Mesa Verde Country is — no surprise — a deep well of inspiration, and Mancos' artist community reflects that. Stroll through town and soak up this blend of cowboy culture and artistic flair in the galleries and shops. Enjoy a craft cider from locally sourced apples, a locally made beer or a cup of locally roasted coffee alongside the river, and keep an eye out for vibrantly colored murals as you stroll. If you’re lucky, you might get to watch the biannual cattle drive roll down Main Street.

Of course, Mesa Verde National Park is less than 15 minutes from town, a must-see destination in southwest Colorado. After you’ve toured the ancient dwellings and learned about this area’s earliest inhabitants, head back to the uncrowded setting of town. The nearby Chicken Creek trail system offers peaceful exploration, be it on foot, bike or skis.

Mancos is a wonderful destination year-round for that perfect blend of history, art, the great outdoors and traditional Western character.

Want more?

Mancos is just one of the towns that make up Mesa Verde Country. Check out Dolores and Cortez.

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