Sundance Bear Lodge

11555 County Road 39 Corner Of Hwy 184 And County Road 39, Mancos, Colorado 81328
Innkeeper(s): Sue & Bob Scott

2016 Trail Plan gets Governor’s support 25 Jan 2016, 12:29 pm

Our thanks to the Durango Herald for this important news item –


The proposed Paths to Mesa Verde – a multiuse trail connecting Cortez, Mesa Verde National Park and Mancos – made Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 16 most important trail projects for 2016.


Enlarge photo



Map of proposed area for the Paths to Mesa Verde trail between Cortez and Mancos.


“We’ve identified projects that will help us fulfill the vision of Colorado the Beautiful, and create the kinds of connections that link us to the natural splendor that sets our state apart,” Hickenlooper said.

Great Outdoors Colorado is investing $30 million in trails over four years as part of its Connect Initiative to improve walkable and bikeable paths and trails across the state. Qualifying projects must apply for the grants, and the first $10 million will be awarded in 2016.

“This recognition puts us in a good position for funding,” said James Dietrich, community development planner for Montezuma County.

The Paths to Mesa Verde project would provide 16 miles of trail links between Mancos, Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez High School, Southwest Colorado Community College, Phil’s World mountain bike trails system and the Montezuma County fairgrounds.

The trail plan got support during public meetings in 2014. Also in 2014, a $400,000 planning grant was awarded from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Montezuma County and Cortez each contributed $40,000, and Mancos kicked in $20,000.

Montezuma County commissioners were pleased to make the state’s priority list.

“This proposed project has grown out of a grass-roots community effort that has been in the works for several years and has great potential to improve the lives and economy of citizens in Montezuma County as well as improve the experience for visitors from all over the nation and world who come to Mesa Verde National Park,” commissioners Larry Don Suckla, Keenan Ertel and James Lambert said in a statement.

The Mancos Board of Trustees also expressed its support, and noted the cooperative effort between Mancos, Cortez, Montezuma County, the BLM, CDOT and Mesa Verde National Park to move it forward.

The “16 in 2016” initiative was created to promote outdoor recreation across Colorado.

Projects were selected based on several criteria, including: economic development potential; proximity to underserved communities; the need for new paved and natural surface multiuse trails; the potential for greater partnerships between governments; nonprofits and the private sector; and environmental stewardship.

Most of the projects have been under development for years and have local support and partnerships.

Moving the projects forward means a better connected network of trails that offer safe, alternative transportation routes for adjacent communities, Hickenlooper said.

“We need the kind of outdoor access that more easily brings all of us – especially our young people – into the fresh air and away from indoor distractions,” Hickenlooper said. “Getting more Coloradans outdoors more often is good for our health and a refreshing reminder of how fortunate we are to live in Colorado.”


Mother Nature takes charge at Mesa Verde! 6 Nov 2015, 10:18 am

The Mesa Verde Association reports ——


Due to safety concerns relating to a recent rockfall, Spruce Tree House is temporarily closed. During this closure a geologic site assessment is being completed. According to park archeologists, “The immediate goal of the project is to assess a potentially dangerous situation and return the site to a safe condition for park visitors and staff. Information collected during the course of the project will contribute to future planning and hazard abatement.”


Beginning November 1, park rangers will offer three free ranger talks daily from site overlooks. These talks are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. and will cover Spruce Tree House architecture, history, and current archeological and geological concerns. 


At this time there is no scheduled reopening date for Spruce Tree House. This date will be set by the park engineer, managers, safety staff, and park archeologists once the full site assessment is complete.


The Petroglyph Trail and Spruce Canyon Trail are available to hike. Individuals wishing to hike these trails should stop at the Museum or Chief Ranger’s Office for current conditions and trail access information. 


Site assessment work will be visible on the Spruce Tree House webcam beginning November 3-5. Interested individuals should visit For more information and updates please visit

Ute Mountain tribe super shop at edge of Cortez 26 Oct 2015, 6:43 pm

On Saturday we attended an open house party  in Cortez at the invitation of Mesa Verde Country.  This is the tourism group for the county — you’ll want to reference that website for any travel plans in southwest Colorado. 

The Ute Mountain tribe bought the pink building on the east side of Cortez — Scott Tipton used to own it.  it is wonderful!! Plenty of pottery, silver and turquoise jewelry and much more.  Grew Drew has a wine tasting room there as well.  (I really enjoy the Meritage).  This shop is really worth a visit and they will be open through the winter.  There’s plenty of parking — for free!

The munchies for the evening came from local restaurants.  I won’t recall the whole list….I know I won’t…..but Stone Fish (Cortez). Absolute Bakery (Mancos). Once upon a Sandwich (Cortez)…..well, sufficient to say you can get a good meal in both towns!!  I wish I had said “yes” to bringing a leftover home!!



Fall fun in the 4 Corners 20 Sep 2015, 4:18 pm

Fall is the time when adults love to travel!  It’s not that they don’t like children; most have grandchildren!  But travel is different once the kids of all ages are back in school.  In and around Mesa Verde  the activities that continue are: a ranger guided 1/2 day hike in the Upper Navajo Canyon on Wed and Sun.  to Oct. 5 —- 1/2 day hike on Wetherill Mesa on Tues and Fri through Oct. 3 –Get tickets on line at   Nearby at the Anasazi Heritage Center (Dolores)  there are curation tours each Thurs. through Oct. 30. Reserve your space 970-882-5600 space is limited.


Mancos hosts the hot air balloons on Sept 25-27 along with  an art show/sale. This is a colorful moment  in Mancos each fall.  If you have never gotten up close and personal with a hot air balloon, be sure to stop by Boyle Park!


Durango has a string of fall events like Oktoberfest and the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Oct.1-4). The gathering takes place in the Strater Hotel, where many free performances of cowboy poetry and music are held. Events are also at the DSNGRR, the Durango Arts Center, Rapp Corral and in many local galleries throughout the city.

The community host bicycling all year round. Just picture biking on a crisp fall day as the trees begin to change colors!  Durango also is home to zip lining (check you fear of heights at the start!) and you can be thrilled by the tour through the changing mountain scenery.

Two web sites for the best research on SW Colorado at  and


Sept. balloons and art in Mancos 23 Aug 2015, 5:43 pm

Our thanks to the mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce for the update on the annual balloon festival!


Mancos Valley Balloon & Art Festival schedule of events:

Friday Sept. 25th
6:45 am  Inflation for first flight and Sponsor Rides, in Boyle Park.

4:00 pm  Grand Summer Nights–stores and balloon ride headquarters open on Grand Avenue, in Downtown Mancos.


Saturday Sept. 26th
6:45 am  Inflation for second flight. Tether rides available for $10 per person, weather permitting.  (Boyle Park)

10:00 am – 4:00 pm  Art & Street Fair: Carriage rides, live music, art & food vendors and lot of extra fun, on Grand Avenue.

6:00 pm  ”Pilots & Heroes” BBQ Dinner to take place on Bauer House Lawn, in a comfy, heated tent. Limited seating–get your tickets NOW!  Tickets are $20 per person, and are available at the Mancos Visitors Center and at the Balloon Ride Sales Headquarters on Grand Avenue, next to Olio.

>  Silent Auction inside Bauer House
Music and dancing on the patio
Drawing for the Landowner’s Lottery will take place during dinner. (In Mancos Balloon Fest tradition, landowners that allow balloonists to land on their property are eligible to win a free balloon ride. For more information, call Bobbi at 970-560-0203.)

Sunday Sept. 27th
6:45 am  Inflation for third flight. Tether rides available for $10 per person, weather permitting.  (Boyle Park)

10:00 am – 4:00 pm  Art & Street Fair continues: More carriage rides, children’s train rides, art & food vendors.
7:15 pm  Preparation for the beautiful Balloon Glow event in Boyle Park. Free!


Thank you for supporting the Mancos Valley Balloon Festival & Street Fair!
Proceeds will benefit Operation Second Chance and Medicine Horse Center. 


4 Corners Lectures 27 Jul 2015, 2:16 pm

Four Corners Lecture Series Returns to Mesa Verde

The Four Corners Lecture Series continues this summer. This year’s theme is “It’s About Time,” with several of the lectures focusing on the 25th anniversary of the passage of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The passage of NAGPRA served as a catalyst for a change in relations between the Native American nations, archeologists, museums, and federal agencies. Mesa Verde National Park illustrates those changes on a world stage in which visitors experience the results of more than two decades of consultation.

Thurday, July 30, 7:00 p.m., Far View Lodge at MVNP; Lara Lloyd will speak about “Race, Science, and Burials: The Impacts of NAGPRA on Mesa Verde.” Lara works summers as an interpretive ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. She holds degrees from Arizona State University (B.A.) and Northern Arizona University (M.A.) and has worked on archeological projects in the Southwest and Belize. Her research interests include human-environmental relations, exchange, and archeological law. In the winter, Lara teaches in the Cultural Science department at Mesa Community College in Arizona.

Tuesday, August 4, 7:00 p.m., Sunflower Theatre, Cortez; R. Kyle Bocinsky will speak about “Can Pueblo Corn Save Ethiopian Farms? Deploying 1,400 Years of Agricultural Knowledge in Service of the Future.”

Wednesday, August 5, 1:30 p.m., Center of Southwest Studies Room 120, Fort Lewis College; Ann Butler will speak about “Bury My Heart at Boot Hill: Death in Southwest Colorado from pre-Hispanic through Victorian Times.”

Thursday, August 13, 7:00 p.m., Far View Lodge at MVNP; Lillian Wakeley will speak about “Preponderance of Evidence: the Intersection of Geology, NAGPRA, and Kennewick Man.”

Wednesday, August 19, 1:30 p.m., Center of Southwest Studies Room 120, Fort Lewis College; Syl Allred will speak about “Blackjacks and Yellowbellies: Walking in Western Ponderosa Pine Forests.”

Thursday, August 20, 7:00 p.m., Crow Canyon Archaeological Center; Chris Rasmussen will speak about “Ecology of Southwest Rivers: Form and Function, Restoration and Resilience.”

Saturday, August 22, 2:00 p.m., Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding; Sally Cole will speak about “Birds in Ancestral Pueblo Rock Art and Culture.”

We hope you’ll join us for all of these free programs! This lecture series is generously sponsored by Mesa Verde Foundation, Mesa Verde Museum Association, and Mesa Verde National Park, as well as the Anasazi Heritage Center, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, Bureau of Land Management, Cortez Cultural Center, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Fort Lewis College Office of the President, Department of Anthropology, and Center of Southwest Studies, Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, KSJD Dryland Community Radio and the Sunflower Theatre, and the Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance.  Thanks to the Museum Assoc for the reminder and the text!

Plan ahead — trail ride of your lifetime at Mesa Verde 25 May 2015, 3:59 pm


Mesa Verde Foundation is pleased to be offering its second benefit ride within Mesa Verde National Park on Thursday, September 10. Experience the spectacular views of the western part of the park in all its autumn glory. This year we are headed to another section of the park near Wetherill Mesa.


The Long Mesa ride offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a day on horseback with interpretive rangers as we explore a part of the park not on any regular tourist trail. Limited to 25 participants, riders will meet at the entrance road to Wetherill Mesa at 8 a.m. and follow a trail down Long Mesa for an 8-hour ride. At the end of Long Mesa, riders will stop to enjoy a scrumptious catered gourmet lunch prepared by Absolute Bakery out of Mancos. On the way back, there will be a special visit and tour of Spring House, a spectacular unexcavated cliff dwelling.


The price of the ride is $500 per person ($450 is a contribution to MVF). Riders may bring their own horses or rent horses through Rimrock Outfitters in Mancos (additional $200/day). Riders must be experienced enough and able to ride over rugged terrain and trails.


 No stabling of horses is allowed in the park, but arrangements can be made to keep horses overnight at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, just outside of Cortez. Sundance Bear Lodge is a Mancos B&B that welcomes riders and horses as well.  The ride will occur rain or shine.


For details or to register send an email to or call Ben Duke, Ride Coordinator for Mesa Verde Foundation, at 303-771-1555.


Proceeds from the ride benefit Mesa Verde Foundation and its work to preserve and enhance the many treasures at Mesa Verde.

A Perfect day in Mancos (& the Southwest) 22 Apr 2015, 10:31 am

A perfect day in Mancos ……

First and foremost a visitor needs to know that Mancos is the Gateway to Mesa Verde National Park – the only national park dedicated to human culture.  The Anasazi Indians of the 1200s lived in the 4 Corners from about 500 -1280 and they created the magnificent solar condominiums that are alcove sites in the park. Four such sites are open to the public in the summer but there is more to see in and around Mesa Verde.

National Geographic teamed up with Trail of the Ancients throughout the 4 Corners to create a 2 sided map that highlights numerous  things to see and places to go. The map is for sale at various visitor centers in Dolores, Cortez, and Mancos.  Visitors who stay in Mancos are poised to enjoy a variety of day trips within 2 hours of town. For those who  find archaeology captivating, they can visit Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruin in New Mexico and Hovenweep in both Colorado and Utah. The Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores is a great “prep course” for those who don’t know what to expect at the national park!

Outside of archaeology but still within the 2 hour zone a visitor can enjoy Telluride, best known as a winter ski town, and Durango which hosts a 4 year college called Fort Lewis, the Durango Silverton narrow gauge railroad, and skiing at Durango Mountain.  Everywhere people are riding bicycles – on the roads, on the mountain trails, and specially designed locales like Phil’s World near Cortez. No matter what type of riding you enjoy, visitors will find it in the 4 Corners! Because of the variation in elevation this is the best place to train!


If a guest would prefer to let a horse do all the work – Mancos has outfitters with good quality horses.  The mountains look especially wonderful from the back of a horse! By the way, if you see cowboys moving a herd of cattle along the US highway – they have the right-of-way.

Downtown Mancos is a village at heart with the personality of an artist. Two galleries are artist co-ops. Another gallery was started by Veryl and Roger Goodnight when they moved to Mancos from Santa Fe. Veryl is a well known bronze artist who prefers to create pioneer women and animals rather than the typical cowboy/Indian pieces of many western artists.

The Mancos Arts Council sponsors at least one studio tour during the summer, giving visitors a chance to see artists at work. The Mesa Verde Foundation also cooperates with the national park and selects a day early in the season when a few plein aire artists have access to special park locations to spend a day creating new paintings. Their creations are then auctioned  to benefit the national park!


To balance this list of things to do – are a sufficient number of places to eat breakfast, lunch, and supper.  We always suggest that folks eat a hearty breakfast so they have a choice about stopping mid-day for lunch. Sometimes the day gets so busy that stopping for lunch would be an inconvenience! Carrying a sandwich along is a time efficient way to handle lunch. Mancos has three places for supper – and the national park has one; the variety is good.

So it is difficult to describe one perfect day, because it depends what your tastes are, who you are traveling with, and when you decide to come to the 4 Corners. All seasons are worthwhile – but very different.  Just get started and plan to come back regularly! What we know for sure it that guests need to plan at least one more day than is initially planned. You won’t regret it!

News from Mesa Verde! The season begins! 27 Mar 2015, 1:22 pm



2015 Special Hikes and Tours Tickets Selling Fast Online 


Mesa Verde National Park is offering a series of unique ranger-guided educational experiences in 2015. Tickets for these special hikes are limited and must be purchased online at These special programs often sell out, so sign up now to avoid disappointment.

Ranger-guided hikes and programs include a 2-hour hike to Oak Tree House offered weekly during the summer, a 2-hour hike to Square Tower House offered in spring and fall, and a half-day hike on Wetherill Mesa.

In addition, tickets for Twilight Tours of Cliff Palace, which feature a historical figure from the past, and the Photography Tour at Cliff Palace will be offered on-line.  For reservations or more information, visit or call 1-877-444-6777. 




Sure signs that spring has arrived in Mesa Verde include expanding hours of operation for the park’s Visitor Center and Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, the conversion of Spruce Tree House from ranger-guided tours to self-guided touring.  We are pleased to report that all these seasonal conversions have occurred!

Here are some more dates to look forward to:
April 12: Ranger-guided tours of Balcony House start for the season; Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and Spruce Tree House visiting hours extend to 6:30 p.m.
April 16: Far View Lodge and the Metate Room open for the season
April 18 – 19: Park entrance fees waived in observance of National Parks Week opening weekend
April 30: Morefield Campground opens for the season
May 2: Far View Terrace opens for the season
May 3: Square Tower House hikes begin; purchase tickets now at
Early May: Wetherill Mesa Road opens for the season, weather permitting
May 22: Cliff Palace and Long House ranger-guided tours start for the season
May 26: Oak Tree House hikes begin; purchase tickets now at

A reminder that ranger-guided tours of Cliff Palace will begin a few weeks later than in past years so that park archeologists can complete the first phase of extensive preservation work this spring on this internationally recognized treasure. Learn more about this multi-year project at




Our thanks to Mesa Verde Association for the update!


Mesa Verde visitor services decided 3 Nov 2014, 4:36 pm

This report from Mesa Verde –

The National Park Service has selected incumbent ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment, LLC to provide a variety of visitor services in Mesa Verde National Park for the next 10 years. The new park concessions contract is anticipated to begin January 2015 and includes lodging, campground, food and beverage, retail, tour, kennel, fuel, and other visitor services within the park.


Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer said, “ARAMARK has successfully operated the concession in the park for the last 33 years, and we look forward to continuing this successful working relationship in the future.”


The new contract includes a minimum franchise fee of 6.5 % that will be returned to the government each year based on annual gross receipts. The contract also includes a repair and maintenance reserve of 3.4 %. The annual gross receipts are expected to be approximately $7,000,000.


The competitive process for the concessions contract was initiated December 9, 2013, with the release of a prospectus. All offers had to be submitted to the agency by April 2, 2014. An evaluation panel of National Park Service and technical experts outside Mesa Verde National Park performed a comprehensive analysis of the proposals and selected the best responsive proposal based on factors identified in the prospectus.


ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment, LLC provides a variety of visitor services in several national and state parks across the country.