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Welcome to Cortez

Cortez is one of the nation's most affluent archaeological centers, situated between the world-renown Mesa Verde National Park and the captivating Ute Mountain Tribal Park. Farming and cattle ranching was once the center of Cortez's commerce, though things were unstable for the town once World War 1 hit. Finally, in the 1960s, Cortez stabilized with the help of tourism, drawing many people to explore Mesa Verde National Park. Once an Old Spanish Trail, Cortez's modern-day trails are more tailored to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders than mules and merchants. Given its proximity to the more than 600 acres of parks, trails, and open spaces and the depth of history, it's particularly convenient that Cortez has so much to offer in the way of dining and lodging. The community near the Four Corners (where the borders of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet) has retained its connection to its earliest roots of agriculture, which shines through in the locally sourced dishes at unique local restaurants.

What to Love

  • Outdoor recreation, including camping, fishing, hiking, and more
  • Year-round community events
  • Archaeological sites awaiting exploration
  • Peaceful, picturesque landscape and lifestyle

Local Lifestyle

Given that Cortez has a combined population of around 8,700 people, it's safe to say that people enjoy a peaceful, small-town existence. You can be sure of the natural beauty that surrounds this area. Miles of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, and reservoirs make way for plenty of outdoor recreation. Outside of expansive open spaces and nature areas delighting nature enthusiasts, Cortez's lush fields translate to the bounty experienced in local eateries and weekly farmer's markets. Star-gazing, fishing, community involvement, and more — life is peaceful in Cortez.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Finding something tasty in Cortez is easy, with Main Street housing most of the city's eateries. For 13 years, Beny's Diner has been a beloved spot for locals to grab breakfast, tasty sandwiches, and Mexican fares. Whether you're looking to scarf down one of their award-winning burgers or kick back in the lounge with an ice-cold Colorado beer, The Farm Bistro is a must-visit restaurant for those lively, convivial nights that call for unique eats like chile relleno pie and curried veggie wontons. Next time you're craving fresh fish, head to Stonefish Sushi & More. Don't forget to enjoy some local beer, wine, and sake, or try their Pepperhead Margaritas, exclusive to Stonefish!

Things to Do

Though small in size, this town boasts an array of fun, family-friendly events throughout the year. The annual endurance mountain bike race, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, is a highly anticipated event that challenges even the most seasoned cyclists. Every summer, families await the Montezuma County Fair, delighting in free entertainment, tasty eats by various vendors, and plenty of events, including goat roping, kids' day, and a chili and salsa contest.
When locals aren't catching up with neighbors and competing for salsa champion titles, they spend their free time exploring nature. Mesa Verde National Park boasts a rich cultural heritage you can peer into by stopping at the visitor and research center, various hiking trails, and snowshoe and cross-country skiing during the winter. Then, make lasting memories with your kids with a trip to McPhee Reservoir, where you can relish hours of lake activities, go boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking for hours on end.

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