Sun Point View ~ Mesa Verde National Park
There is plenty to see and do when touring Chapin Mesa, because this is where most of the ancient pueblos are located in Mesa Verde National Park. Chapin Mesa splits into two branching arms where the high ground meets the deep canyons and Colorado State Road 10 does a touring loop through ancient sites and overlooks on Sunset Point. Sunset Point overlooks the junction of two canyons and it overlooks the neighboring branching arm of Chapin Mesa where several great house pueblo complexes are located.
From the official Sun Point View Location, it is easy to see the 20 Room Cliff Dwelling, 15 room Cliff Dwelling, Sunset House, Cliff Palace and the Far View House on the other side of Fawkes Canyon. The distances across the canyon are close enough to see, but high power binoculars or a telephoto camera will make the viewing a better experience. I used 50x and a 300x camera lenses to get a closer look at the distant pueblos and the results revealed far more details than can be seen with the naked eye. With the telephoto lens, even the Far View House on top of the mesa was easy to see and the waiting line at the main Cliff Palace Overlook certainly was long that day!
There are several Cliff Palace overlooks to be found in Mesa Verde National Park. Sun Point View is one of the best, because from this vantage point six big ancient structures can be seen across the canyon, including Cliff Palace and several more are located on top of Sun Point. By viewing the locations and by studying the ledges for pathways, visualizing how the foot traffic flowed in ancient times is possible. Seeing how all of these pueblo structures are interconnected will provide clues as to how complex the ancient Mesa Verde Culture really was. In this area, there are structures devoted to food storage, artisan workshops, astronomical observatories, ceremonial temples, many kivas and plenty of domestic home space. As can be imagined, the Mesa Verde Culture was quite a great civilization long ago and looking at all the great house cliff dwellings and pueblos at Sunset Point View will certainly provide a good overview!