From our balcony at the Far View Lodge inside Mesa Verde National Park, Ken and I watched wild horses graze around the clusters of rooms at sunset. It made for a memorable ending to a day of exploring the park’s unparalleled Ancestral Puebloan ruins.

Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde. Photo courtesy Mesa Verde National Park

Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde. Photo courtesy Mesa Verde National Park

Far View Lodge was eco-renovated to be energy- and water-efficient and to reduce waste—and its modest but comfy rooms offer glorious views of the park. In true National Park style, there are no nightclubs or in-room TVs, and outdoor lights are kept to a minimum. I’m happy to report that during our stay, we inhaled cool night air spiced by the scent of sagebrush and gazed at the vast universe of stars while serenaded by a coyote chorus in the distance.

Aramark, the concession company that operates Far View Lodge and Mesa Verde’s infrastructure in general (tours, hospitality services, waste disposal, restrooms, and non-Park Service staff), has a fairly comprehensive enviro-plan, which is necessary to deal with the many thousands of visitors who visit the park annually.

Among Aramark’s initiatives are:

  • recycling program (paper, glass, plastic, metals)
  • waste reduction
  • water and energy conservation
  • ecofriendly cleaning supplies
  • landscape-conscious construction (to reduce damage to the fragile ecosystems, to blend into the natural view, and to minimize light and noise pollution)
  • bi-fuel trucks and electric carts
  • integrated pest management (IPM) with a nontoxic approach to dealing with insects and rodents
  • sustainable and organic foods, including shade-grown Fair Trade-certified coffee.

Metate Room Restaurant

The Far View Lodge has a wonderful, though slightly pricey, restaurant on premises called the Metate Room. (A metate is a stone tool used by native peoples to grind corn.)

The panoramic view of Mesa Verde from the Metate Room restaurant. Photo courtesy Mesa Verde

The panoramic view of Mesa Verde from the Metate Room restaurant. Photo courtesy Mesa Verde

Ancient meets contemporary in the menu of this evening dining venue. The chef has created dishes that blend regional, sustainable, and organic fare with Ancestral Puebloan traditions. The result was a sumptuous dinner that started with a crisp and tangy house salad topped with black beans and corn and a chopotle-maple vinaigrette. My husband sampled the Corn-and-Nut-Crusted Rocky Mountain Trout served with Anasazi beans and sautéed veggies from a local farm. I opted for the Elk Tenderloin with local chokecherry demi-glace.

Fine, Native American-inspired dining is available at the Metate Room in Mesa Verde National Park.

The Metate Room offers a lovely atmosphere decorated with Navajo weaving, pottery and baskets. Native flute music played softly in the background. I know it’s kind of clichéd, but the wooden flute just sounds right in a place like Mesa Verde where you know you’re looking out the window at the same vistas that the Ancestral Puebloans beheld.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

Originally published August 2011.

Read more about my travels in America’s national parks and monuments:

Showing 4 comments
  • Chelsea St. Pierre

    Yosemite has a green lodge–and a famous and luxurious one: Ahwahnee Hotel.

    • Laurel

      I’ll have to visit. I haven’t been to Yosemite since I was a teenager and camped with my family.

  • Corinne McKay

    Thanks Laurel for these tips! Based on your advice we stayed at Far View as well and were pleasantly surprised with how nice it was. Granted, we were on a 3 week bike trip where the lodging included a furnished RV, but Far View was really lovely. As you said the rooms are small and basic but ours was recently renovated, and the private balconies are great. Also no TVs and minimal cell reception, so you feel totally justified in hanging out on the balcony watching the view over the valley for a few hours. We did not eat at the Metate Room, but the cafeteria in the Far View Terrace center is totally adequate. Their specialty is Navajo Tacos with your choice of toppings and I think they run about $9 per person. We also ate breakfast there and had the made-to-order yogurt parfaits which were very yummy. Especially compared to driving back and forth to Durango or Cortez, I would highly recommend Far View!

    • Laurel

      So glad you enjoyed your stay at Far View. The natural setting and proximity to all the archaeological sites really can’t be beat!

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