You’re getting a wonderful casino experience when you venture to Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino. But given the popularity of the Great West, you need to take at least a day or two off the gaming floor at Ute Mountain to experience the Four Corners.
Today, we’ve chosen eight of the hottest attractions in and near the Towaoc, Colorado, area that you can add to your vacation itinerary. And as you may predict, you’re getting tons of cool outdoor and recreational activities to engage in. So, if that’s your thing, you have a complete vacation ahead of you.
Are you ready to discover these eight phenomenal attractions near Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino? Keep reading for more.
1 – Ute Mountain Tribal Park
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with nature entwined with history, check out the cliff dwellings at Ute Mountain Tribal Park. Here, you will find a plethora of ancient tribal paintings left preserved throughout thousands of years of history.
And best yet, many of them are ready and willing to take you on a day trip throughout the tribal park. Check out the petroglyphs, hike to the cliff dwellings, and learn about the region’s history and culture of the Ute people.
Just one word of caution: They do not accept credit/debit cards and since you will be hiking, bring fast-burning snacks with lots of water. Then, go out and catch the phenomenal story of the Ute people and bring a camera phone with you to snap some photos of those breathtaking views.
2 – Hawkins Preserve
You will find Hawkins Preserve at 1490 S Cedar Street in nearby Cortez, Colorado. You will find the preserve near other notable attractions such as the Colorado Welcome Center – Cortez, the Notah Dineh Trading Company Museum, and Yellow Car Country Wines.
There’s plenty to do in the area if you’re not willing to check out this cool nature preserve. But if you love the outdoors, head over to this 122-acre archeological site operated by the Cortez Cultural Center.
Here, you’re going to see several desert-like, picturesque rock formations that will make you feel as though you’re staring into a painted canvas at an art museum as opposed to real-life nature.
In the spring, reviewers state that there are diverse examples of flora growing among the cactus plants along the entrance to the pathway that will take you along the preserve. It’s well-maintained concrete and not far from it, you will stumble across some cool dig sites.
They also have restrooms here along with a lounge. And although you’re getting remarkable views of the surrounding desert lands, it’s astonishingly close to town.
3 – Canyon Trails Ranch Guided Horse Tours
A recipient of the 2021 TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award, Canyon Trails Ranch Guided Horse Tours is a tour through ancient Pueblo ruins where you will come across some cool artifacts as well. The guides are always happy to point and tell you about other archeological sites on the property.
And no, you do not need to be an experienced rider to enjoy the horse tours. In fact, many reviewers on TripAdvisor have stated that this was the first time they’d ever ridden a horse.
Best yet, if you request one, you’re almost guaranteed a private trail ride unless they have a full booking in your requested time slot. Many who have taken the trip through the ruins have stated they will sign up to do so again if and when they return to the area.
If you’re looking for a unique tour through the ruins of a once-prosperous civilization, consider the Canyon Trails Ranch Guided Horse Tours and they will treat you to an adventure of a lifetime.
4 – Antique Corral
If you won some money at Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino, Antique Corral is a good place to spend some of those winnings, even if antiques aren’t quite your thing.
This is a locally-owned business whose owner many reviewers on TripAdvisor state is every bit as personal as they are knowledgeable about what they have stocked on their store shelves. A huge plus.
Within its walls, you will find droves of wooden crafts, classic signage, lawn chairs, yard decor, pottery items, knickknacks, and a plethora of interior decor from many different eras. You’re getting, overall, the largest selection of antiques in the area, and if nothing else, head inside and browse around.
The only common negative denominator here is that reviewers have noted the high prices. But then again, you also know it’s highly likely you’re getting your hands on some durable products here.
If you’re interested, check it out at 6817 Highway 160-491 in Cortez, Colorado.
5 – Sutcliffe Vineyards
If you’re looking to try some local beverages, look no further than Sutcliffe Vineyards. Head over to 12174 Road G. in Cortez, Colorado, and stumble across what might just be the area’s most well-hidden gem.
Step outside onto the patio and catch breathtaking views of the vineyard, plus the nearby mountain ranges. Best yet, the owner and their staff possess extensive product knowledge and will point you to your preferred flavors of wine.
And if you’re looking to stay here and sample a few delectable flavors, head over to the nearby tasting room and they will not disappoint you.
One notable wine enthusiast on TripAdvisor stated they have tried wine from all over the country and Sutcliffe “can’t be topped.” Now that’s a ringing endorsement.
6 – Long House Ruins
Perhaps the most unique attraction on today’s list, the Long House Ruins are a highly sought-after vacation destination not just surrounding Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino, but nationwide.
Reviewers have stated that you may have up to three tour guides who will take you into the old longhouse village. And it does require a short hike to reach, so bring appropriate clothes and shoes for the journey. Some say the hike is a breeze while others have commented it is strenuous.
It probably just depends on how experienced you are hiking somewhat unstable terrain, if you need a bit of an idea.
Other reviewers have gone without guides, but there are nearby park rangers willing to help you out and answer any questions you may have.
Anyway, if you’re looking to see this cool collection of ancient ruins, you probably don’t need us to tell you where to go to find them. But if you’re unsure of where to go, you will find them in a national park known as Mesa Verde.
7 – Nordenskiold #16 Trail
And since we’re already in Mesa Verde National Park, we may as well take the time to check out some other cool attractions to visit within the attraction. Best yet, many reviewers call Nordenskiold an easier hike and a short one, with the recommended time ranging to less than one hour.
Many will take this trail as a warmup before the longhouse tour, while others will walk here after the tour to loosen their tired legs after the trip into the ruins. And since it’s so short and close to civilization, it’s also a good place to venture into alone and be at one with nature for a while.
8 – Step House
If you’ve made it into the dwellings for the longhouse tour in Mesa Verde, end your tour at Step House before climbing back up and out of the dwellings.
It’s a smaller house, and many have stated that they had as much if not more fun touring and hiking to the step house than they did at the longhouse. Though others stated the exact opposite.
Just a fair warning, the terrain is very unstable. If you don’t do well on unstable surfaces, avoid the step house. But if you hike there and reach it, check out those ladders and climb your way around the place for a few cool vantage points.
Our Thoughts on the Area Around Towaoc, CO
Overall, Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino is a good place to play, stay, and win. But it’s not the only exciting attraction in the area. Today’s post gave you eight cool places to check out when you need to take time off from the gaming floor, where three of the attractions are located in one of America’s premier national parks.
Have you visited Ute Mountain Hotel and Casino? If so, did you check out any of the attractions on today’s list? How about any other casinos in Colorado? Let us know in the comments and tell us your stories. We are looking forward to reading them.