The Pueblo people called the Mesa Verde region home for some 700 years, carving out complex homes in the stone of the canyon walls. President Theodore Roosevelt established the park in 1906 to preserve these dwellings.
In addition to the Audubon Society designating the park as a Colorado Important Bird Area, there are many types of mammals in the park such as coyotes, foxes and black bears.
The highest ground in the park is the 8,467-foot Park Point, which offers hikers and tourists a spectacular view in all directions billed as one of the greatest in the nation.
Hikers must stick to the designated trails within the park but there are several of them, including the nearly eight-mile long Prater Ridge Trail.
There are ranger-guided tours of cliff dwellings such as Balcony House, a 40-room dwelling excavated by archeologists in 1910.
While most of the cliff homes have less than 10 rooms, some like the incredibly detailed Cliff Palace and Long House contain 150 rooms.