Southwest Colorado’s National Parks and Monuments: Mesa Verde and So Much More!
Discover Durango’s abundant access to Southwest Colorado’s National Parks & Monuments. With its close proximity to all, Durango makes the perfect basecamp for day trips to Mesa Verde National Park, Chimney Rock National Monument, Four Corners National Monument or Hovenweep National Monument.
Travel throughout the southwest corner of the state and explore amazing cultural destinations such as the 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park or the night sky programs at Chaco Canyon. Plan your stay in Durango, and make it your basecamp to explore the best national parks and monuments Southwest Colorado has to offer!
National Parks & Monuments Near Durango, Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park
With nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde National Park is one of the most unique National Park destinations in the state of Colorado.
Travel through time and experience life the way the Ancestral Puebloans did when they made Mesa Verde their home from A.D. 600 to 1300. Explore ancient kivas and climb ladders at the various cliff dwellings, and hike the many trails that will lead you through cultural sites and canyons.
With some of the most notable and best preserved sites in the United States, Mesa Verde should be at the top of your list of Colorado National Parks to visit for an incredible glimpse into the past!
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
With over 6,000 sites covering 176,000 acres, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument has the highest known density of archaeological sites in the United States. Explore cliff dwellings, kivas, and rock art in this “outdoor museum” destination.
Hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride on the various trails to see numerous archaeological sites. This top destination pairs world-class outdoor recreation with some of the top cultural sites in the state.
Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument features six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300, including incredible ancient towers and intricate architecture.
Surrounded by the beautiful canyons and boulders of the high desert landscape of Southwestern Colorado, this national monument is a must-see destination.
Take an easy day trip to explore one of the best examples of the skill the Ancestral Puebloans put into their structures, and discover the unbelievable towers and buildings of Hovenweep National Monument.
Chimney Rock National Monument
One of the newest National Monuments, Chimney Rock National Monument offers a mysterious and fascinating look into the ancient lives of the Ancestral Puebloans.
Covering seven square miles and preserving 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, instructional tours provide the only access to this destination.
Hike to the top of the mesa for an up-close look at the ruins, as well as unparalleled views of the surrounding Colorado scenery.
Chaco Canyon National Historical Park
Right over the border of Colorado and New Mexico, Chaco Canyon is a top destination to view the expertise and abilities of the Ancestral Pueblo people.
Explore Chaco Canyon with guided tours and extensive hiking and biking trails, or experience this International Dark Sky Park through evening campfire talks and night sky programs.
Explore the National Parks, Then Stay & Play in Durango
Located just a short day trip away from any number of Colorado National Parks & Monuments, Durango is the best basecamp to explore the top cultural destinations in the state. With great lodging, historic hotels, and beautiful camping, Durango will provide a perfect home base to travel to all of the surrounding National Parks and Monuments. Take the advice of Backpacker Magazine and experience all of the activities Durango has to offer:
“A short drive from Mesa Verde National Park takes you to beautiful and bustling Durango, Colorado. Take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and follow it up with a beer (or four) at Carver Brewing Co.”
Easy To Get To: Durango Is Your Best Basecamp for
Colorado’s National Parks
Durango is a quick and easy direct flight from multiple destinations. Multiple daily flights are offered from Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Phoenix, and a daily flight is offered from Los Angeles through the summer. Want to bring your own car to easily travel to our surrounding national parks & monuments? Driving to Durango is easy and beautiful!
From Denver, a beautiful six and a half hour drive will take you over multiple mountain passes, past the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and through every type of scenery Colorado has to offer. Coming north from Albuquerque, NM, your family will see beautiful red rock desert landscape and unbelievable rock formations.
And coming northeast from Phoenix, AZ, an easy seven hour drive will lead you through National Forests, past the Four Corners National Monument, and within easy distance of the Grand Canyon National Park. Once you’ve made it to Durango, historic hotels, comfortable lodging, and beautiful camping sites will welcome you home, and put you within a short drive’s distance of all of our Southwest Colorado National Parks.
Explore Mesa Verde and Colorado’s National Parks.
Start Planning Your Trip Now!
Discover the top National Parks & Monuments in Southwest Colorado. View current travel deals or special packages, and read this list of 11 more reasons to make Durango your summer vacation destination.