Located just eight miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez features over 600 acres of parks, trails and open space. To the North, you’ll find Carpenter Natural Area with 176 acres and easy access to trails for biking and hiking. To the South, enjoy the 122 acre Hawkins Preserve with opportunity for hiking, biking, rock climbing and star-gazing from the slick rock trails to the canyon edge, overlooking McElmo Creek. There are even excavated archaeological sites contained within the preserve, which is owned by the Cortez Cultural Center.
At the heart of it all you’ll find beautiful Parque de Vida with ponds for fishing and feeding ducks, as miles of sidewalks wind through the park systems and bring this community together with outdoor amphitheaters for summer festivals. The Rec Center has something for every age group with pools, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, indoor basketball courts and fitness area. A 50 meter outdoor pool with a 125 foot double loop water slide, a splash pad with spraying jets and play features including a 60 gallon dumping bucket. All of these amenities are just one block north of Main Street near the Colorado Welcome Center where you can also purchase your tickets for ranger-guided tours at Mesa Verde.
The ideal jumping-off point for many adventures, Cortez has a wide variety of lodging, shopping and dining opportunities including local breweries and wineries. A weekly Farmer’s Market features the agricultural heritage and commitment to local, organic foods which are featured at many restaurants in the region. Several exceptional galleries, museums and trading posts reflect the culture and creativity of the Southwest. Cortez remains the trading center of the Four Corners as it has for over 2,000 years with artistry passed down through generations to create a community which celebrates the traditions of the past and a collective vision for the future.