45 miles W. of Durango, 203 miles S. of Grand Junction
An important archaeological center, Cortez is surrounded by a vast complex of ancient villages that dominated the Four Corners region -- where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah's borders meet -- 1,000 years ago. Mesa Verde National Park, 10 miles east, is certainly the most prominent nearby attraction, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. In addition, archaeological sites such as those at Canyons of the Ancients and Hovenweep national monuments, as well as Ute Mountain Tribal Park, are an easy drive from the city. San Juan National Forest, just to the north, offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The community of Cortez provides lodging, food, and supplies, making it the best spot to use as a home base when visiting these sites. Elevation is 6,200 feet.