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

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

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
Activity

Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez

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Friendly volunteers provide personal attention and make this an excellent stop for information when visiting the southwest corner of Colorado, which is considered the archaeological center of the... Read More
Lunch

Montezuma Restaurant

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Mexican restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks. Read More
Activity

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum

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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 features exhibits on the Galloping Goose rail... Read More

Dinner

Thai Cortez

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Serving Thai lunch and dinner specialties in Cortez. Read More
Activity

Yucca House National Monument

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Large, unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan valley pueblo near Towaoc.

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Lodging

Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez

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Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor. Read More
Day 2
Breakfast

The Pie Maker Bakery

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The Pie Maker is a small batch bakery, locally owned and operated since 2012 in Montezuma County, Colorado. We specialize in sweet & savory pastries, desserts, and artisan bagels. All of our baked... Read More
Activity

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

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Crow Canyon Archaeological Center offers students, teens and adults of all ages the opportunity to explore the field of archaeology in the middle of the richest archaeological region of the... Read More

Lunch

Piccadilly Circus Pizza

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Piccadilly Circus Pizza is the leading provider of fresh food for the convenience store industry. Read More
Activity

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum, BLM

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Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains a huge number of... Read More

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.

Activity

End Your Night on the Reservoir

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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.
Lodging

Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez

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Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor. Read More
Day 3
Breakfast

Bean Tree Coffee House

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Organic/Fairly-traded Coffee & Espresso. Patio with outdoor seating, downtown and parking in the back.

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Activity

Head to the McElmo Flume No. 6

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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

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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 Southwest specialties. Read More
Activity

Drive 700 Years of Mesa Verde History

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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

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Mesa Verde Metate Room Restaurant received "Award of Culinary Excellence" from the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association in the area of sustainable cuisine. Colorful Native... Read More
Activity

Enjoy an Evening Program

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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

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Hampton Inn Mesa Verde lodging features large, spacious guest rooms with fresh modern decor. Read More
Day 4
Breakfast

Far View Terrace Cafe

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Casual food-court setting features breakfast burritos and omelet station, a yogurt bar, and standard breakfast fare. For lunch, daily specials including our signature Navajo tacos, sandwiches and... Read More

Insider's Tip

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

Animas Museum

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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 home to a research library and photo archives.

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Lunch

Diamond Belle Saloon

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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 famous original ragtime piano bars in the Wild... Read More

Activity

The Center of Southwest Studies Museum at Fort Lewis College

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The Center of Southwest Studies Museum collections include The Durango Collection® of Navajo, Puebloan and Hispano textiles, plus baskets, beadwork, pottery, sculpture, and paintings. The Center... Read More
Dinner

Mutu's Italian Kitchen

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Step inside and "Taste the Passion!" Chef and Owner Rustin Newton brings you Classic to Contemporary Italian selections all passionately prepared. Try our House made Ciabatta Bread and Sun dried... Read More

Activity

Take a Historic Walking Tour

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

Leland House & Rochester Hotel

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The Leland House and Rochester Hotel provide unique historic accommodations in the heart of downtown Durango, walking distance to shops, restaurants, activities and the Durango-Silverton... Read More

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

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The Southern Ute Museum celebrates the living history of Colorado's longest continuous residents with multi-sensory exhibitions, rare artifact collections & recorded stories. This iconic... Read More

Lunch

The Rose Cafe

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One of the best places to eat in Ignacio, The Rose Cafe is great for families to experience American food, like our tacos. Read More
Activity

Hike around Lake Nighthouse

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

Julie's El Amigo

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Serving delicious American and Mexican food to Ignacio locals and visitors is what we do best at Julie’s El Amigo. With neighborly service, a casual dining atmosphere, and, of course, delectable... Read More
Lodging

Leland House & Rochester Hotel

Website

The Leland House and Rochester Hotel provide unique historic accommodations in the heart of downtown Durango, walking distance to shops, restaurants, activities and the Durango-Silverton... Read More