One Day Just Isn't Enough: Summer Fun in Cortez, Dolores & Towaoc

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Stargazing at stunning Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites, sampling the bounty of local producers at verdant farms and ranches, epic fly-fishing on the Dolores River — there’s so much to see and do in Mesa Verde Country.

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
canyons of the ancients aerial view photo
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…
Lunch
Once Upon A Sandwich
Offers a homemade menu with soups, sandwiches and local favorites.
Activity
Fly-Fishing on the Dolores River

From the top of Lizard Head Pass, the Dolores River flows 241 miles until it empties into the Colorado River. The Dolores travels down in a canyon, past the old mining town of Rico and into McPhee Reservoir near the town of Dolores. The major fishing areas are the feeder streams, the river above the town of Dolores and the stretch below McPhee Reservoir.

Insider's Tip
Get Expert Fishing Advice

Stop at Dolores Outfitters for the scoop on the best local angling spots and everything you need for a fly-fishing adventure on the Dolores River.

Dinner
WildEdge Brewing Collective
WildEdge Brewing Collective is the newest brewery in Cortez Colorado. Creative beer, local food, great community.
Insider's Tip
Explore Our Native Roots

The Cortez Cultural Center hosts Native American dances on summer evenings.

Activity
Cortez Cultural Center
Programs will include Native American music and flute-playing, art, and other opportunities for in-depth appreciation of Southwestern cultures.
Lodging
Retro Inn at Mesa Verde
There is a lot to see and do while your in Mesa Verde Country, we are surrounded by National Monuments, Parks, Forests, and Rivers. While at the…
Day
2
Breakfast
Beny's Diner
Beny's Diner in Cortez has been serving breakfast and lunch for 13 years. All of our food is homemade, including the hash browns.
Activity
Mesa Verde Farm and Ranch Tours

Agritourism Tours are now available through the Cortez Cultural Center. Experience the inner workings of today’s farm and ranch life in Mesa Verde Country. Discover what life on a farm is like as you taste the flavor of the region.

Lunch
Blondie's Trophy Room
Blondies Trophy Room is a restaurant & bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with great cocktails. Opening daily at 9am for the best BREAKFAST in…
Activity
Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park
Witness a special Native American interpretation of the culturally diverse homelands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Spend time with one a Native…
Dinner
Stonefish Sushi & More
Delicious sushi rolls, sashimi, nigiri and other specialties. Open for lunch and dinner; happy hour Tuesday through Friday at 4:30pm.
Activity
Sunflower Theatre
The Sunflower Theatre presents performing arts, musical, cinematic, and educational events to enrich the cultural experience of a diverse rural…
Lodging
Baymont Inn & Suites Cortez
Located off Highway 160 in scenic Southwest Colorado. Take in the sweeping views of La Plata, the Blue Mountains, and Mesa Verde Ridge from your room…
Day
3
Breakfast
Loungin' Lizard
We are a family friendly restaurant and bar with a chalk board menu that changes often with something for everyone.
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…
Insider's Tip
Take a Hike

The 7-mile out-and-back Sand Canyon Trail travels through a juniper and pinion pine forest to stunning Ancestral Puebloan ruins.

Lunch
Beny's Diner
Beny's Diner in Cortez has been serving breakfast and lunch for 13 years. All of our food is homemade, including the hash browns.
Activity
Horseback Ride with Canyon Trails Ranch

Located near Mesa Verde, Canyon Trails Ranch offers scenic Southwest Colorado backcountry horseback rides in spectacular McElmo Canyon. Visit ancient ruins and learn the history of the Puebloan people via horseback.

Dinner
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
Stargazing at Hovenweep National Monument

Due to its remote location surrounded by the Navajo Reservation and BLM public lands, Hovenweep preserves a primordial dark sky largely unaltered by modernity. In 2014, International Dark-Sky Association certified Hovenweep National Monument as the 17th International Dark Sky Park. Stargazing and exploring the night sky is allowed from the visitor center parking lot and campground only.

Lodging
Ancient Echoes at Kelly Place
Just northeast of The Four Corners, Ancient Echoes at Kelly Place encompasses 40 acres in the sculpted red rocks of McElmo Canyon at the base of…