While being the most southwestern town in Colorado, Towaoc is also the headquarters of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation. The neighboring Southern Ute tribe and the Ute Mountain Utes are the only American Indian tribes remaining in Colorado.
While the tribe partakes in a modern lifestyle, they also remain rooted in tradition, keeping alive important ancient customs and beliefs. Traditionally, the Ute tribe is known for its intricate works of beadwork. Today, they also have a thriving pottery enterprise, and their work is available to visitors at local trading posts and through their own pottery outlet.
Area attractions include the Ute Tribal Park, which features both Ancestral Puebloan and Ute rock art and dwellings. From the visitor center and museum south of Towaoc, native guides lead guests on an interpretive journey through Ute and Ancestral Puebloan history, visiting pictographs, geological formations, petroglyphs and ancient dwellings. Half- and full-day tours are available in addition to special tours to remote areas of the park. The Ute Tribal Park was selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of 80 destinations in their article, "Around the World Travel Suggestions for the 21st Century."
The Ute Mountain tribe operates the Ute Mountain casino, hotel, RV park, campground, travel center and restaurant. The casino features entertainment, more than 370 slot machines, live blackjack and high-stakes bingo. There’s an on-site restaurant, which offers Southwestern-style food in a friendly atmosphere.
Read a Mesa Verde-area itinerary.