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Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

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Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

Family of 5 - kids ages 6, 8, and 10 doing a southwest road trip this June.

Basic itinerary is:

Taos 1 night

Santa Fe 2 nights

Sedona 2 nights

GCNP 2 nights

Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde 1 night

Sleep somewhere along the route to home

I had originally hoped to spend 1 night in Monument Valley and 1 night in Mesa Verde NP, then driving back home to Kansas City the next day. But I'm thinking that we will be tired at the end of this road trip and won't have enough time to actually see both, plus have to drive 14+ hours home. So my question is: Should I visit Monument Valley or Mesa Verde?

We plan to visit Bandilier National Monument outside of Santa Fe, which has some cliff dwellings I believe. My kids are pretty adventurous so I'm not worried about them being scared in the dwellings. Will they be bored at Monument Valley? I already made reservations at the View Hotel but I'm willing to cancel them if its overall better to go to Mesa Verde instead.

Thanks for your help!

5 replies to this topic
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

Mesa Verde needs 2 nights and a full day in the park to see much of anything, including tours that you must reserve in advance. Monument Valley is best with an overnight stay so you enjoy sunset and sunrise, plus 3-4 hours for a guided back country tour.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

I'd drive through Monument Valley and get to Mesa Verde NP for at least 2 nights. Mesa Verde is great for kids, Monument Valley is hot, dry, dusty and more adult oriented. Check on www.nps.gov/meve for things to do at Mesa Verde. Your kids could easily do the Cliff Palace tour, plus there are plenty of overlooks, trails at Farview Ruins and some fun activities with the Junior Ranger program.

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3. Re: Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

Thanks for the help! I think I'm going to stick with Monument Valley and take our time heading home. Maybe we can stop on White Sands NP? We plan to do a Utah road trip in a couple years so we can tack on Mesa Verde to that road trip, and I will make sure to give it 2 nights then!

NJ
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4. Re: Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

If you do one of the tours at Monument Valley I think the kids will like the "rough" ride and you will be fine. Mesa Verde with kids would take more time....however at Mesa Verde you can get up close and personal with the exhibits..... If you have gone to Bandilier you will get the feel- it would be a super mini version - nothing like the tours in the major features at Mesa. Kids might not appreciate the difference...... so going to Monument Valley is a good plan especially having a room at the View! you have a really long drive home - you might try for White Sand Dunes but that makes for long days! 5 - 6 hours just to Alamosa, then 10+ hours home unless you head a little farther east after visiting the park.... yikes! (doable yes but yikes!)

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5. Re: Monument Valley vs Mesa Verde NP - only have time for 1

Thanks! Yes we are going to visit Bandiler earlier in the road trip so that makes me feel better about missing Mesa Verde on this trip. We regularly visit Denver and drive straight there, so I'm hoping the trip home from Great Sand Dunes is a similar drive.

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