It's amazing to look at these places and wonder what on earth drove the inhabitants to build them in the first place (they'd lived for the previous 600 years on top of the mesa) and then abandon them completely within two or three generations?
We only spent a few hours today but we loved it so much that we are planning to come back for two or three days some time to really see it properly.
The only part open to visit at this time of year is "Spruce Tree House". I'd read about Mesa Verde and even seen pictures, but this view that greets you as you begin the walk down to the site just blew me away.
It's even better as you get closer.
And just awesome right up close.
While you can't visit the other sites at the moment, you can see them from the road. This is the Cliff Palace which is the largest and most famous of them.
I included that distant shot so you could see where it is in relation to the mesa top and the canyon. Here's a close up.
We started the day in Santa Fe and are spending the night in Durango. You can see our route for today on the map below.