Hidden Gems of Southwest Colorado

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Go beyond Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez and Durango to find the farm bistros, guest ranches and lesser-known towns and monuments of Colorado's southwest corner.

Sustainability Activity
Travel Like a Local

There are special places and unique vistas around nearly every Colorado corner. You can help ensure these places exist for generations to come by staying on roads and trails, keeping speeds in check, leaving campsites and picnic spots just as you found them, and following instructional signs while you’re out and about in our state.

Day
1
thousands of years of human history at your fingertips photo
Activity
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Looking to enhance your understanding of Southwest histories and cultures or embark on a transformative experience? Discover Archaeology Webinar…
Lunch
The Farm Bistro
The Farm Bistro is a casual yet elegant farm to table restaurant in the heart of historic downtown Cortez, Colorado. The lunch and dinner menus…
Activity
Sip & Explore

Pop into some of the local vineyards around Cortez for a taste of their special vintages.

Dinner
Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch
Pastoral scenes of Navajo Churro Lambs and bison looking Galloway Calves await you at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch. Nestled in front of the…
Lodging
Settle in for the Evening

Settle in and relax in the peace and quiet of the ranch for your overnight stay. Tour the barns and vegetable garden, feed the baby sheep, hike the easy trails around the property or the nearby Canyons of the Ancients National Monument towers.

Day
2
Insider's Tip
Stay for Breakfast

The ranch's breakfast is packed with fresh organic produce from the area, so be sure to savor the local flavors before heading out for a day of activity.

Activity
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum, BLM
Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum contains a 3.5 million-item research collection. Exhibits interpret the history and culture of…
Activity
Hike Sand Canyon Trail

This 6.5-mile trail is used for hiking and mountain biking. You'll pass through one of the largest prehistoric settlements in this region with 420 rooms, 100 kivas, and 14 towers, but no exposed walls.

Dinner
Main Street Brewery and Restaurant
Eclectic, fun full-service craft brewery. 12 in-house brews with 5 blends. Freshly prepared food, fire-grilled steaks, prime rib, great burgers,…
Activity
Mesa Verde National Park
We want to welcome you as our guest to the nation's richest archeological preserve, where amazing cliff dwellings and more than 4,000 ancient…
Lodging
Mesa Verde - Far View Lodge
Far View Lodge is the only lodging inside Mesa Verde NP. Breathtaking views, award winning cuisine, guided tours of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings,…
Day
3
Breakfast
Far View Terrace Cafe
Casual food-court setting features breakfast burritos and omelet station, a yogurt bar, and standard breakfast fare. For lunch, daily specials…
Activity
Take the 700 Years Tour

The Mesa Verde 700 Years Tour provides you with an overall historical view of the Ancestral Puebloans’ architectural, horticultural, cultural, and religious dimensions of their lives in the Southwest.

Lunch
Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe
Patio Dining at its best! Stop at Spruce Tree Terrace Café, located in the heart of Mesa Verde National Park, for favorite American classics and…
Activity
Far View Sites

Tour the park's Far view Sites Complex, which can be explored by a trail system that weaves through several excavated sites.

Dinner
Metate Room
Mesa Verde Metate Room Restaurant received "Award of Culinary Excellence" from the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association in the…
Activity
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
The museum displays dioramas illustrating Ancestral Puebloan life. There are also many exhibits of prehistoric artifacts, a chronology of Ancestral…
Lodging
Mesa Verde - Far View Lodge
Far View Lodge is the only lodging inside Mesa Verde NP. Breathtaking views, award winning cuisine, guided tours of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings,…
Day
4
Breakfast
Absolute Bakery & Cafe
Dedicated to the art of food, the Absolute Bakery & Cafe prepares food from scratch, using only the finest of organic and local ingredients. It's no…
Activity
Mancos Creative District
Facilitated by a vibrant community of more than 150 artists, the growing downtown
Lunch
Fired Up Pizzeria
Fired Up Pizzeria is dedicated to the ingredients, quality and traditional methods of producing authentic Neapolitan pizza. Our pizzas are created…
Activity
Check into the Historic Strater & Tour Its Living Museum

We invite you to step inside our lobby and walk around and be part of our history by joining us. You’ll see shadow boxes depicting stories of the old west and mining times and witness unsurpassed craftsmanship at every turn.

Dinner
El Moro Spirits & Tavern
El Moro sources meats, produce & beverages from local and regional partners whenever possible.  Local beers, spirits & meats are always on the…
Activity
Four Leaves Winery
Four Leaves Winery Durango is a boutique winery located in historic Durango, Colorado. We import the highest quality grapes and then handcraft,…
Insider's Tip
Durango Wine Experience

If you're visiting in May, check out the Durango Wine Experience: Three delicious days of educational seminars, wine dinners and unique tastings featuring hundreds of wineries, artisan spirits and craft beers.

Lodging
Historic Strater Hotel
THE OFFICE SPIRITORIUM, with its lavish and comfortable décor, can't really be called a bar, saloon, tavern, or lounge but a delightful office…
Day
5
Breakfast
Mahogany Grille
Enjoy handcrafted cuisine while stepping back in time in the ambiance of the Victorian Old West as we serve you an array of eclectic culinary…
Activity
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
Experience the adventure of traveling by a historic steam-powered or diesel locomotive on the same tracks miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old…
Insider's Tip
Have Lunch on the Train

Pre-order a boxed lunch and much your sandwich as you ride the rails alongside the Animas River.

Activity
San Juan Skyway - Scenic and Historic Byway
The 232-mile San Juan Skyway Loop takes about 7 hours to drive or can be a great 2 or 3 day trip with multiple opportunities to stop and…
Dinner
Eolus Bar & Dining
Majestic Mt. Eolus is the namesake of our dining establishment.  We offer rooftop dining year round on our warm heated patio or an interior dining…
Activity
Animas River Trail
The Animas River provides gold medal waters for fishing, kayaking and rafting. The centerpiece of the city's trail system, this paved multi-use…
Lodging
Historic Strater Hotel
THE OFFICE SPIRITORIUM, with its lavish and comfortable décor, can't really be called a bar, saloon, tavern, or lounge but a delightful office…