11. August 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 8: Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Manitou Springs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
The Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings is a part-day attraction you can roll in with other activities in the Manitou Springs/Ute Pass areas of Colorado.

The Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings is a part-day attraction you can roll in with other activities in the Manitou Springs/Ute Pass areas of Colorado.

About 3 weeks ago, our family took a day trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. A Facebook advertisement featuring wolves from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center visiting for the day got my attention. The boys were immediately interested.

There is an admission to visit the Cliff Dwellings. I downloaded a coupon from the website and was able to get $1 off per person. You will pay the admission at a little guard shack just after turning off U.S. 24 into the facility.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a representation of what life was like for the Anasazi tribes of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Dave and I were quite disappointed to learn that the structures we toured weren’t actually native to the area: the structures were disassembled from a collapsed area near Cortez, Colorado and relocated to Manitou Springs via railroad around 1900.

Nonetheless, it’s about 15-20 minutes to fully walk through the “neighborhood” of cliff dwellings, which feature living quarters, cooking areas, garbage disposal areas, and a “kiva“, which is a room used for rituals. The kids immediately noticed the sense of community to the area, when they asked about the three-family living quarters and communal cooking areas.

After the quick turn through the dwellings, the boys wanted to go visit the two wolves who were near the gift shop. The CWWC was holding a fundraiser: for a $5 donation, you could take as many photographs as you liked. There was quite a crowd on hand, so the boys got several minutes with the wolves…but we had to assure them we would visit the CWWC later this year and they could spend more time with them later.

We then visited the gift shop, which is very big. If it weren’t for the admission you have to pay just to get onto the property, I’d recommend it as a nice place to find a wide variety of Colorado-esque gifts for friends and family.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!


It’s a well-laid out, well-kept museum.


There are signs to guide visitors to tour the dwellings in the same direction: right-to-left on the inside, then left-to-right on the outside.


The openings were about 5 1/2′ tall, many adults have to duck to get around the interior areas.


Teachable moment: Dave is teaching the boys about the kiva.


The pottery within the mud/clay was interesting to me.


There is this balcony area that was a popular photography spot. But there’s a limit of two people on the balcony at a time. It was hard to photograph the boys because kids kept popping in and out of the holes behind them.


It was funny seeing the kids popping in and out of the holes.


I wish I could remember the names of these wolves. Sorry!



A rare view of me on the other side of the camera.


These poor wolves were in and out of sleep much of the time.


The gift shop is larger than the rest of the museum put together. I recommend it as a nice place to get native-Colorado gifts.


A model of the cliff dwellings inside the gift shop.


My telephoto lens capturing the wolf from afar.