A Tour of U.S. National Parks
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Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwestern Colorado, is home to the best-preserved cliff dwellings and relics in the United Sates. The Park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites. Visitors can hike to ancient Pueblo sites, including Cliff Palace, Balcony House, or Long House, which were home to Pueblo people for over 700 years, from about A.D. 550 to 1300. It was not until about 1200 that they lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is famous. For the first six centuries, most of the Pueblo people lived on the mesa tops. Mesa Verde National Park was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, and was the first park created to "preserve the works of man."
Fun Fact: The subterranean kivas that were home to Ancestral Pueblos stayed a comfortable 50 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.
Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith