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MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

Mesa Verde National Park and the Durango and Silverton Railroad

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Road Scholar
Program #1263RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Lodge: 8,000 feet; train reaches 9,700 feet. Doctor's OK urged if you have heart/lung problems.

Itinerary for Sep 28 — Oct 3, 2014

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Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is at 8,000 ft elevation, 18 miles inside the Mesa Verde National Park entrance on US 160. (There is a paved two lane highway which climbs the switchbacks from the valley floor to the relatively flat top of the mesa.) The 150-room facility is built on a ridge which overlooks a three state area, with views as great as 100 miles. Mesa Verde is the nation's richest archaeological location, with over 4,000 sites scattered within its borders.

Contact info:
Mesa Verde National Park
Mancos, CO 81328 USA
phone: 970-529-4422
web: www.visitmesaverde.com

Room amenities: The rooms have a double or queen bed, private bath with shower, balcony with views into 3 states. Every room has a refrigerator, coffeemaker, clock radio, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, telephone. There is no TV.

Facility amenities: 150 rooms, laundry services, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, cocktails, wine and espresso available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 28 - Arrival & Registration/Introductions & Orientatio...
Afternoon: On-site registration in the lodge lobby from 4:30-5:15 PM.

Dinner: Dinner at the Metate Room with multiple entree, beverage and dessert choices. Soup or salad is included and vegetarian options are available.

Evening: Hear about the activities planned for the week with an orientation by your coordinator. Then meet your fellow travelers and lifelong learners during introductions.

Lodging: Far View Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is at 8,000 ft elevation, 18 miles inside the Mesa Verde National Park entrance on US 160. (There is a paved two lane highway which climbs the switchbacks from the valley floor to the relatively flat top of the mesa.) The 150-room facility is built on a ridge which overlooks a three state area, with views as great as 100 miles. Mesa Verde is the nation's richest archaeological location, with over 4,000 sites scattered within its borders.

Contact info:
Mesa Verde National Park
Mancos, CO 81328 USA
phone: 970-529-4422
web: www.visitmesaverde.com

Room amenities: The rooms have a double or queen bed, private bath with shower, balcony with views into 3 states. Every room has a refrigerator, coffeemaker, clock radio, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, telephone. There is no TV.

Facility amenities: 150 rooms, laundry services, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, cocktails, wine and espresso available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 29 - Introduction to Mesa Verde: An Historical and Arc...
Introduction to Mesa Verde: An Historical and Archaeological Overview/Field Trip to Mesa Top Loop Archaeological Sites & Spruce Tree House

Note: Hop on and off the coach to view the archaeological sites. See activity information for Spruce Tree House in afternoon detail. You are at an elevation of at least 7000' so take your time and drink water to stay hydrated in this dry environment.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Far View Terrace with a selection of hot and cold entrees available. The Terrace is located in a separate building, downhill from Far View Lodge, about 1/8-1/4 mile one way and along a paved pathway.

Morning: The morning presentation will introduce you to the geography and pre-history of Mesa Verde, showing and describing how and why the first people came to the Mesa, how they adapted to its unique conditions and environment and how these ancestral Puebloan people fit into the larger economic and social network of the region.Mesa Verde National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top.

Lunch: Lunch at Far View Terrace with multiple choices. Vegetarian options available.

Afternoon: Board the bus for the Mesa Top Loop, which provides a sense of the expanse of Mesa Verde, and tour the Spruce Tree House. Spruce Tree House is the third-largest cliff dwelling on the Mesa, containing about 130 rooms and 8 kivas (Elevation change is 100',1/2 mile RT). Built between AD 1211 and 1278, it was home to about 80 people. Visit the Chapin Mesa Museum and view its dioramas depicting human habitation in the Mesa Verde area from 13,000 BC (before present) to 1200 AD. These five dioramas were painstakingly built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930's.

Dinner: Dinner at the Metate Room with multiple entree, beverage and dessert choices. Soup or salad is included and vegetarian options are available.

Evening: Enjoy an evening program in the meeting room presented by a national park ranger or a special speaker/presentation if the National Park Service is not presenting ranger talks at this time of year. Programs will focus on the natural or human history of the Mesa Verde region. A different topic is explored each night. Presentations might be on the Civilian Conservation Corps at Mesa Verde, Nordenskjold at Mesa Verde or other regional topic.

Lodging: Far View Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is at 8,000 ft elevation, 18 miles inside the Mesa Verde National Park entrance on US 160. (There is a paved two lane highway which climbs the switchbacks from the valley floor to the relatively flat top of the mesa.) The 150-room facility is built on a ridge which overlooks a three state area, with views as great as 100 miles. Mesa Verde is the nation's richest archaeological location, with over 4,000 sites scattered within its borders.

Contact info:
Mesa Verde National Park
Mancos, CO 81328 USA
phone: 970-529-4422
web: www.visitmesaverde.com

Room amenities: The rooms have a double or queen bed, private bath with shower, balcony with views into 3 states. Every room has a refrigerator, coffeemaker, clock radio, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, telephone. There is no TV.

Facility amenities: 150 rooms, laundry services, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, cocktails, wine and espresso available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 30 - Navajo Culture and Experience Through an Artist's...
Navajo Culture and Experience Through an Artist's Eyes/Free Afternoon/Evening Ranger Program

Breakfast: Breakfast at Far View Terrace with a selection of hot and cold entrees available.

Morning: This morning we will hear a Native American tell his story about growing up on the reservation and living and surviving in two worlds.

Lunch: Lunch at Far View Terrace with multiple choices. Vegetarian options available.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon with options for visiting the Chapin Mesa Museum, the Visitors' Center Museum, Anasazi Heritage Center, Mancos/Cortez and lesser-known sites within the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Revisit those sites on the Mesa that piqued your interest or relax with the magnificent view of the Four Corners region from your balcony. Please note that you will be more easily able to explore the region with a personal vehicle.

Dinner: Using a food voucher, choose your dinner tonight from either the Far View Terrace or Metate Room (extra charges may apply).

Evening: Hear about the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as you anticipate your journey through Colorado mining country and the beautiful San Juan National Forest and Mountains.

Lodging: Far View Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is at 8,000 ft elevation, 18 miles inside the Mesa Verde National Park entrance on US 160. (There is a paved two lane highway which climbs the switchbacks from the valley floor to the relatively flat top of the mesa.) The 150-room facility is built on a ridge which overlooks a three state area, with views as great as 100 miles. Mesa Verde is the nation's richest archaeological location, with over 4,000 sites scattered within its borders.

Contact info:
Mesa Verde National Park
Mancos, CO 81328 USA
phone: 970-529-4422
web: www.visitmesaverde.com

Room amenities: The rooms have a double or queen bed, private bath with shower, balcony with views into 3 states. Every room has a refrigerator, coffeemaker, clock radio, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, telephone. There is no TV.

Facility amenities: 150 rooms, laundry services, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, cocktails, wine and espresso available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, October 01 - The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad/Milli...
The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad/Million Dollar Highway/Durango and Trading Post

Note: Walking to the restaurant and around Silverton on both paved and unpaved walkways at an altitude of over 10,000'. Distance from train to restaurant less than 3 blocks. Some walking in Durango on sidewalks at an elevation of 6,500'. Walk a few blocks to the restaurant for dinner.

Breakfast: Grab coffee early! Then enjoy a breakfast to go on the way to Durango.

Morning: Get an early start in time to meet the steam train departure of the Durango and Silverton RR from Durango's train station. The town of Durango was established in 1881 as a railroad center to service the mining town in the region. The narrow gauge railroad climbs along the Animas River, through the pass and down into Silverton, rising more than 3,000 feet above Durango's elevation. Beginning operation in 1882, the railroad was promoted as a scenic route for passenger service although the line was constructed primarily to haul mine ores, both gold and silver, from the San Juan Mountains. It is estimated over $300 million in precious metals has been transported over this route. The locomotives used to pull today’s train remain 100% coal-fired, steam-operated. The locomotives are 1923-1925 vintage and are maintained in original condition. The coaches each feature bathroom facilities and are heated during the winter months for passenger comfort. Open gondola cars provide a panoramic view of the mountains. Concessions are available on every train. During the latter part of the 1960s, the Durango-Silverton was registered as a National Historic Landmark and was awarded as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. This is one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world.

Lunch: Sumptuous lunch buffet at Natalia's in Silverton.

Afternoon: After lunch, explore the mining village of Silverton, with its Victorian-style buildings and alpine views of the surrounding peaks. Board the bus for the two hour ride on the Million Dollar Highway over Coal Bank Pass (10, 640') and down past the Durango Mountain Resort into Durango. Enjoy a bit of time to explore the hip mountain town of Durango. Time permitting, visit a trading post in town before dinner and hear about the native arts and exquisite Navajo rugs on display.

Dinner: Dinner at the historic Palace Restaurant adjacent to the Durango train station. You'll choose from a selection of entrees which have included grilled salmon, ribs, penne pasta and chicken and dumplings.

Evening: Return to Mesa Verde following dinner.

Lodging: Far View Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is at 8,000 ft elevation, 18 miles inside the Mesa Verde National Park entrance on US 160. (There is a paved two lane highway which climbs the switchbacks from the valley floor to the relatively flat top of the mesa.) The 150-room facility is built on a ridge which overlooks a three state area, with views as great as 100 miles. Mesa Verde is the nation's richest archaeological location, with over 4,000 sites scattered within its borders.

Contact info:
Mesa Verde National Park
Mancos, CO 81328 USA
phone: 970-529-4422
web: www.visitmesaverde.com

Room amenities: The rooms have a double or queen bed, private bath with shower, balcony with views into 3 states. Every room has a refrigerator, coffeemaker, clock radio, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, telephone. There is no TV.

Facility amenities: 150 rooms, laundry services, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, cocktails, wine and espresso available.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, October 02 - Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Cen...
Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center, and Park Point Field Trips/Western Songs & Tales

Note: Visit to Cliff Palace at 7,000' involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip. Steps and walking surfaces can be uneven.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Far View Terrace with a selection of hot and cold entrees available.

Morning: The morning's activities are focused on Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America and a site recognized by people around the world for its beauty, well-preserved condition and historical significance. With 150 rooms and 23 kivas as many as 100 people may have inhabited Cliff Palace, which is also thought to have served social, administrative and ceremonial purposes. Visit to Cliff Palace involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Far View Terrace.

Afternoon: This afternoon, journey to the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center for an insider's look at this state-of-the-art facility. Time permitting, visit Park Point, the highest point in the park. From this point, look to the horizon in all directions. See Sleeping Ute Mountain and the, often, snow covered peaks of the La Plata Mountains.

Dinner: Dinner in the famed Metate Room of the Far View Lodge with a selection of entree choices and a million dollar view.

Evening: After dinner, there will be a program wrap-up along with an evening of entertainment and celebration with cowboy songs of the West.

Lodging: Far View Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, October 03 - Breakfast and Final Farewells
Breakfast: Breakfast at Far View Terrace with a selection of hot and cold entrees available.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast. 11:00AM checkout. Safe Travels!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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