Memorial Day Weekend in Cortez





If you get here early enough, I recommend checking out the FARM BISTRO for lunch. This is a great farm-to-table restaurant that gets over half (!) of its ingredients from local farms & ranches. The Farm closes for weekends, so this might be your last change to eat here.


In the afternoon, head up the hill to Canyons of the Ancient Visitors Center & Museum (27501 Highway 184, Dolores) for the afternoon tour & lecture entitled “Ancient Puebloans: Magicians of the Great Sage Plains”. The tour & lecture are FREE with the $3 museum entry fee.

While you’re there, take a short hike up to Escalante Pueblo and enjoy a picturesque view of McPhee Reservoir.




Head back down to Cortez for dinner. We recommend finding something outside of the expected for dinner on Friday night. Check out STONEFISH SUSHI, THAI CORTEZ or LA CASITA DE CORTEZ for a fun start of the weekend!


If you enjoy live music, there is usually a band at one of the local breweries. This Friday, (2019) there are three groups playing:

  • JILL COHN @ WILDEDGE BREWING COLLECTIVE - singer/songwriter and talented guitar player. Hear her HERE

  • THE DEER @ DOLORES RIVER BREWERY - a dream-like folk group from Austin, listen to their music HERE

  • DIABOLICAL SOUND PLATOON @ MANCOS BREWING COMPANY - a local hip-hop group, you can listen HERE, $5 cover



DEFINITELY go to the PIE MAKER BAKERY (17 N Harrison Street) in Cortez for breakfast! This is by far my favorite spot in town. Get the local coffee, a bagel of your choice & the Saturday special - a spudnut.


Sign-up to learn about farming in rural Colorado! I highly suggest taking our MESA VERDE FARM & RANCH TOUR over the weekend (also offered on Monday). This is a really cool new tour run by several different local organizations and highlights the farming & ranching heritage of Southwest Colorado. Over memorial day weekend we will visit Wilson Legacy Farms, a fourth-generation family farm. The Wilsons put on an incredible tour which includes, history, stories, a hay ride and a traditional “farm-family” lunch. It’s definitely an experience you’ll want to have!


On Saturdays, there is usually music & a local food truck at FENCELINE CIDERS in Mancos or you can choose to venture to THE Dolores River BREWERY for great pizza & beers.




Are you an early riser? Interested in watching the sun rise over Mesa Verde and hiking to a waterfall before 9 AM? Check out our MESA VERDE SUNRISE TOUR for a special Saturday morning experience! (Our tour includes a small breakfast and a cup of local coffee, so you don’t need to worry about going hungry!)


If you enjoy a good diner breakfast once in a while, BENY’s DINER (200 W Main St) in Cortez has great service & great food. It’s a local favorite, so be prepared to wait!



Lots of places are closed on Sunday in rural Colorado, so I suggest taking the day to explore MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK. Although Cortez boasts a 9-mile distance from the park, it is a 45 minute drive up to the interesting sites!

While you can see many ruins from your car, I recommend booking a guided tour to one of the more unique areas. Most tours are only $5 per person, but they do fill up quickly, so you’ll need to make arrangements at the Visitors Center before you drive up the mesa! Click HERE for more information on the tours.


There aren’t many restaurants open on Sundays, so LOUNGIN’ LIZARD is an easy (and great!) choice! The restaurant was started by a former chef of the hotel at Mesa Verde NPS and the food & drink menu is diverse with unique twists on regional dishes. It’s not the most exciting thing on the menu, but I always enjoy spinach & pear salad…



Sleep in a little bit after your early morning yesterday, and head to BENY’S or your hotel. Then head out towards the Cortez Airport for your adventure!


Claret cup cactus in bloom

Claret cup cactus in bloom

Cliffrose in full bloom

Cliffrose in full bloom

With luck, the canyon wild flowers will still be blooming, so pack a lunch and head down to SAND CANYON TRAIL HEAD for a hike. There are multiple trails to choose from and you’re guaranteed to see Puebloan ruins, cacti and hopefully lots of wild flowers!

*If you prefer pedaling to walking, Sand Canyon trails also have options for mountain bikers! If you didn’t bring a bike, you can rent one from Kokopelli Bike on Main Street in Cortez.

After the hike, I like to relax at SUTCLIFFE VINEYARD TASTING ROOM. Tastings are only $10 per person, the wine is great, the views from the patio are divine and there are several friendly vineyards dogs & one very cute cat to entertain you!


After a long hike in the canyons, I usually opt for relaxing night in. THAI CORTEZ or TASTE OF INDIA makes for an exciting take-out.