Seniors Check Out Historic Cortez

bbI read recently that a 96 year old Navajo woman was awarded her lifelong wish by an organization called Wish of a Lifetime. It was simply to visit some beloved sheep in Colorado. She grew up with sheep… it was her life. Seniors, let’s follow her to Cortez and enjoy Colorado with her. We won’t visit any sheep, however we will discover Cortez.


Cortez Colorado, the county seat of Montezuma County, Colorado, has a population of just under 9,000. Back in 1886, the town was built to provide housing for the men working on the tunnels and irrigation ditches required to divert water out of the Dolores River and into Montezuma Valley. The town was named for Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

Today it is a popular stop for senior tourists, because of its surrounding attractions: Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, and the famed Four Corners of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. A visit to these locations will leave you steeped in the history of the Ancestral Puebloan people, from the places they lived to the tools they used in everyday life.


Seniors Find The Trail Of The Ancients

Ancestral Puebloans lived in the Mesa Verde area for more than eight centuries. Mesa Verde Park is most famous for its cliff dwellings, but many of the surface sites also tell the story of the people who inhabited this area for centuries.

I’d want to check out the prehistoric sites in the Cortez area listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. They include parks or centers, like the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Hovenweep National Monument, and Mesa Verde National Park. The Archaeological Center preserves the history of ancestral Pueblo Indians, as well as the Anasazi who lived there 700 years ago.

bywaysoverview_topoftherockiesCortez is famed for historic trails or byways such as the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, the San Juan Skyway National Scenic Byway and what is known as the Trail of the Ancients.  The Crossroads Culture Walk in downtown Cortez guides you through the history of the town with buildings dating from the 1890s to the 1930s.

And for you oenophiles, a short drive south of Cortez is McElmo Canyon, the location for the growing micro-industry of viticulture. Enjoy wine sipping from one of the local vintners.

Seniors Visit Canyons of the Ancients National Monument


TripAdvisor suggests that seniors visit the Cortez Cultural Center, located in a beautiful historic building with an unusual painted pressed-metal facade. Don’t miss the Hovenweep National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

The Canyons is a rugged and breathtaking landscape containing the highest known density of archaeological sites in the United States covering over 175,000 acres. More than 6,000 ancient sites including cliff dwellings, kivas, and rock art have been identified.

Seniors, now you know that Cortez is scenic, loaded with ancient monuments and provides excellent local food and quality wine. It will be an enjoyable visit! -jeb

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