Spruce Tree House offers a window to the pre-Columbian times of the desert southwest. The third largest cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. Situated in a deep overhang. Spruce Tree House has 114 rooms and eight kivas. Due to its protective shelter the Spruce Tree House is the best preserved cliff dwelling area in the park. Another bonus is that it is self-guided. So you do not have to be on a tour to have access to see the Spruce Tree House.
Short quarter-mile of switchbacks from the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is all it takes to reach the site. The path is paved and suitable just for about all physical types. On hot southwestern Colorado days make sure you bring some water. Descending 100 feet might not seem like a lot but the altitude of the park along with a dry arid environment can take a lot out of people.
Like many other things that I have built up in my mind. The Spruce Tree House was not as large as I had imagined. Not that it was not worth seeing. Of course, now that I think of it I am not for sure why I thought it was going to be this massive complex. They had no modern tools and it is located in basically what could be described as open faced cave. So not exactly sure on what I was thinking there.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Spruce Tree House. Karen and I always like to walk in the footprints of history. We also like to have our children experience historic places. Especially while they are still young and can’t complain about it. Of course, we are hoping that if we expose them to historic opportunities now they will enjoy it more when they are older. Wishful thinking. Our favorite thing about the Spruce Tree House was when a park ranger pointed out a baby footprint imprinted in the cliff dwelling mortar. Though technology, living conditions, and way of life has changed much over time, parents have not. They still want their children to experience new things and mark it down for life.
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Mesa Verde National Park
Located along Highway 160 between the towns of Mancos and Cortez in SW Colorado
Hours of Operation: Open daily, Year-round but what is available to see varies with the seasons
Cost as of this Posting $15.00 per private vehicle during the summer $10.00 rest of the year
For more information visit their website at www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm
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