A Journey Through Native History: Trail of the Ancients & Tracks Across Borders Byways

5
 days
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Explore world heritage sites and archaeology as you travel two of southwest Colorado's scenic and historic byways.

Sustainability Activity
Donate to the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byways Association

The McElmo Creek Flume, near Cortez, is the last surviving flume of the 104 built in the 1890s to irrigate the Montezuma Valley. Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byways Association is seeking donations to help restore this historic structure. 

Day
1
Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez Photo
Activity
Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez

Please call for current hours.

Friendly volunteers provide personal attention and make this an excellent stop for information when visiting…

Lunch
Montezuma Restaurant
Mexican restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks.
Activity
Galloping Goose Railroad Museum

Housed in a replica of the original Dolores depot, the museum tells the interconnected story of the town and the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and…

Activity
Yucca House National Monument

Large, unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan valley pueblo near Towaoc.

Lodging
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor.
Day
2
Breakfast
The Pie Maker Bakery
The Pie Maker is a small batch bakery, locally owned and operated since 2012 in Montezuma County, Colorado. We specialize in sweet & savory pastries,…
Activity
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center invites citizen scientists of all ages to contribute to a unique and important mission: empowering present and…

Lunch
Piccadilly Circus Pizza
Piccadilly Circus Pizza is the leading provider of fresh food for the convenience store industry.
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
End Your Night on the Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir's marina has kayaks for rent May–October. Paddle around on Colorado's second-largest lake before enjoying your picnic under the setting sun.

Insider's Tip
Pick Up Dinner

Stop into the Safeway on Main Street in Cortez to grab deli sandwiches, chips, apples and drinks for dinner. Then head to the McPhee Reservoir for a sunset picnic.

Lodging
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor.
Day
3
Breakfast
Ute Coffee Shop
Chicken fried steaks, homemade soups, breakfast served all day.
Activity
Head to the McElmo Flume No. 6

Pull into the point-of-interest where you can get out of your car and walk to the overlook where information panels explain the history of the water structure. The flume was built in 1931 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

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
Drive 700 Years of Mesa Verde History

The Mesa Loop Road tour is a 6-mile (10 km) driving tour with short, paved trails. Twelve easily-accessible sites, including surface dwellings and cliff dwelling overlooks. Highlights include Square Tower House, Sun Point Overlook and views of Cliff Palace from Sun Point and Sun Temple stops.

Dinner
Metate Room
Mesa Verde Metate Room Restaurant received "Award of Culinary Excellence" from the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association in the…
Activity
Enjoy an Evening Program

Stop in for a Morefield Campground Evening Program or purchase tickets for the Cliff Palace Twilight Tour before heading to bed.

Lodging
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor.
Day
4
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…
Insider's Tip
Drive to Durango

Head to Durango for the rest of the day, the drive is about an hour.

Activity
Animas Museum

The 1904 Animas city school building is a charming local history museum which offers a variety of exhibits and programs for all ages. It's also…

Lunch
Diamond Belle Saloon

If you're standing in the Diamond Belle Saloon, located in Durango, Colorado, you just may have stepped back in time. Revered as one of the most…

Activity
The Center of Southwest Studies Museum at Fort Lewis College
The Center of Southwest Studies Museum collections include The Durango Collection® of Navajo, Puebloan and Hispano textiles, plus baskets, beadwork,…
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
Take a Historic Walking Tour

Walk around downtown Durango on an evening excursion to learn about the history of buildings, sites and more.

Lodging
Rochester Hotel

The Rochester Hotel provides unique historic accommodations in the heart of downtown Durango, walking distance to shops, restaurants, activities…

Day
5
Insider's Tip
Breakfast in the Hotel

Start your day off early with a hot breakfast in the Rochester Hotel.

Activity
Southern Ute Museum

The Southern Ute Museum celebrates the living history of Colorado's longest continuous residents with multi-sensory exhibitions, rare artifact…

Lunch
The Rose Cafe
One of the best places to eat in Ignacio, The Rose Cafe is great for families to experience American food, like our tacos.
Activity
Hike around Lake Nighthouse

Stretch your legs and walk your dog at Lake Nighthouse Recreation Area March–November.

Dinner
Sky Ute Casino Resort

Seven Rivers Steaks Seafood Spirits


Join us where Seven Rivers meet to create an amazing authentic steakhouse experience. Deep wood…

Activity
Sky Ute Casino Resort

Seven Rivers Steaks Seafood Spirits


Join us where Seven Rivers meet to create an amazing authentic steakhouse experience. Deep wood…

Lodging
Rochester Hotel

The Rochester Hotel provides unique historic accommodations in the heart of downtown Durango, walking distance to shops, restaurants, activities…