Years ago, my sister published a print from a painting by Western artist Jim Rey that depicted early explorers, with their horses, staring down at Cliff Palace. Richard Wetherill, an area cowboy, is widely credited with having “discovered” the ruins, but likely, early explorers beat him to it. He was the first to realize the archeological importance of the find.

Today, Cliff Palace is the crown jewel of Mesa Verde National Park, the only national park dedicated to the works of man rather than the works of nature. In addition to the ruins, there are miles and miles of open country in the Park that is seldom seen.


You can re-live Richard Wetherill’s experience of riding through the park. The Mesa Verde Foundation has obtained permission for a limited number of people to take part in a one-day horse-back tour of the Park. 

You will have the opportunity to experience stunning views of ruins and experience country not normally seen by park visitors. The ride is around eight miles long and, if you want to bring your own horse, you can!  But they do have well trained rent-a-horses available and you will have the experience of a lifetime. The ride is led by a Park ranger and an expert outfitter.

The trip also includes a visit and reception with world famous saddle makers Lauren and Lisa Skyhorse at their home on Thursday, September 12 when you arrive in town. These are two of the nicest and most talented people you will ever get the opportunity to meet. You might even buy a saddle! On Saturday, we will host a final get-together for the riders at Toh-Atin Gallery. You might even buy a Navajo rug!


All the proceeds from the ride will go to support Mesa Verde, one of the 12 original UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t wait as there are a limited number of spaces.  Find our more by visiting the Foundation website or calling (303) 321-3120.

If you are not the horse riding type, but would like to help the Mesa Verde Foundation in their work, we are offering “The Discovery” by Jim Rey, at the price of $50.00, including shipping, with the profits going to the Foundation.

Also, on October 4-7, Dr. Andrew Gulliford, Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Fort Lewis College, and Peter Pino, former Governor of the Pueblo of Zia, Tribal Council Member and Kiva Leader, who will lead a four-day tour of Mesa Verde National Park.


This experience is walking, hiking and motor vehicle travel. It will include a tour of Mug House, a seldom seen ruin with over 90 rooms at the far end of Wetherill Mesa.

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