Far View Sites ~ Mesa Verde National Park
The Far View Sites are located on Chapin Mesa just a short distance past the Far View Lodge. There are two long touring loops in the Mesa Verde National Park and the Chapin Mesa loop offers a full day of interesting sights to see. The Far View Sites sit on top of the mesa, so the hiking paths are on fairly level ground. The paths are also paved, so those who have mobility challenges can tour this ancient native heritage site. The Far View Sites are also a self guided tour area, so this ancient great house pueblo complex can even be visited when National Park extreme summer heat restrictions are in place, which is something to keep in mind when triple digit temperatures are forecasted!
The Far View Sites are composed of several individual buildings that were constructed over a period of time and eventually a master plan design turned this community into a great house pueblo with walls and a plaza. There are dozens upon dozens of living quarters, food preparation spaces, artisan rooms, storage rooms and kivas in this great house pueblo complex, so a sizable population once called this place home. The Far View Complex was agriculturally oriented, because it is located in a lush green area on the mesa top, while this great house pueblo was also a place of cultural significance, where ceremonies and wisdom sharing took place. A solar calendar is located in the Pipe Shrine House at this site and this astronomical device is similar to the one found at the Fajida Butte Solar Calendar in Chaco Canyon. This goes to show just how far advanced the ancient Mesa Verde Culture once was about a thousand years ago!
The Far View Sites are composed of the Far View House, Far View Tower, Coyote Village, Pipe Shrine House and Megalithic House. The Megalithic House is the only ancient site that is sheltered in a metal building and this is the only place where shade can be found. It was a day of record setting high temperatures during my visit, so nearly all of the other tourists were gathered in the shade viewing the Megalithic House. It was a bit too crowded to photograph that ancient site, but since there were hardly any other people willing to go out in the scorching hot sunlight, I was free to roam the rest of the Far View Sites and this made it easier to take good photos. The Megalithic House will have to wait for another day, which is good enough reason to return to Mesa Verde once again!
No tour of Mesa Verde National Park would be complete without visiting the many small pueblos and farming village structures on top of the high mesas. The Far View Village has plenty of ancient structures to see in one small area, so it is one of the easiest to access and one of the most gratifying to tour. Mesa Verde still has plenty of insights to share in modern times and a little something more can be learned along the way when visiting each pueblo on top of the high mesa!