Mesa Verde Country Hopes to Ramp Up Visitors to Byway


Mesa Verde Country hopes to manage and market the Trails of the Ancients Byway so that visitors to Southwest Colorado will find a reason to extend their stays by one or two more days. This story is sponsored by StoneAge Tools and Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado

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The country's only archeological and cultural byway, will return to its roots with the announcement that Mesa Verde Country will take over management and marketing for Trail of the Ancient's Route in Southwest Colorado. And expect some changes that will add more points of interest along the way to encourage visitors to stay in the area another day or two. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Stone Age Tools, and the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

Mesa Verde Country, the tourism office that markets Southwest Colorado to attract visitors to the area, recently announced that it will resume management and marketing for Trail of the Ancients Byway. Trail of the Ancients resided under the tourism office umbrella for 18 years after the US Secretary of Transportation designated the route as a byway in 2005. In 2013, Trail of the Ancients Byway Association assumed responsibility for the route under the leadership of volunteer, Susan Thomas. The association in collaboration with the Southwest Colorado Canyon's Alliance, started Ride of the Ancients, as a fundraiser for those two programs. This year's ride is July 8th and 9th in Dolores, but volunteers can do only so much. And after the tourism office added another staff member this year, it agreed to resume management duties for the byway.

And we find that it really links our area nicely together. It's the only archeological scenic byway in the whole country. So it's been recognized as that. And Mesa Verde Country is very honored to have taken back the administration of this. After there were some challenges for the group that was administering it previously.

Trail of the Ancients covers 366 miles in Southwest Colorado and Southeast Utah. The 114 miles section in Southwest Colorado connects Mesa Verde National Park, Miguel Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument and Visitor Center, Hovenweep, Lowry Ruin, and the Galloping Goose in Dolores. A series of online podcasts describes points on the route, as does an app, called Here Here; that automatically pops up when passing a point of interest. Bartlett said the tourism office wants to add more podcasts and to the Here Here summaries to make the trip more educationally robust.

Some of those things could be talking about the heritage apples that used to grow down McElmo Canyon, for example. That's a big, big area for us. Some of the sheep shearing and the cattle, that was a big thing, as well. And it's really interesting because the Ismay Trading Post is down there. That is full of historic information, and it's a wonderful place for a turnout and possibly for a little bit of a rest area or refreshment area.

And the office expects to expand marketing efforts to draw more visitors to the area and to entice them to stay longer.

It's a wonderful pipeline to bring people into our area. Once they get in our area on the Toda they typically find themselves engaged. They find more reasons to spend another day in Mesa Verde country. And that's what we're all about here.

To learn more about Trail of the Ancients, visit To learn more about Mesa Verde country, visit Thanks for watching this Edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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