The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are an authentic Anasazi cliff dwelling. They are worth the visit if you haven’t been to the amazing dwellings of the ancient ones in the four corners area.
They do not hide the fact that these dwellings are not in their original location. (But it’s not promoted that way, either!) In 1904 they were brought here from McElmo Canyon near Mesa Verde, carried by ox cart to the railroad and then on to Manitou Springs. They were meticulously numbered, disassembled and rebuilt so that the tourists of the early 20th century could enjoy a piece of the wild west!
Mesa Verde and other original locations are understandably strict about touching and climbing on the ancient structures. At the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, you are encouraged to explore the rooms, climb the ladders and peek out of the windows. Pretty cool.
I nice little extra is the gift shop built against the cliff side and using the natural rock as a display opportunity.
If you look into the valley below the cliff dwellings, you will see a straight dirt road that runs toward Highway 24. This is the original entrance.
Behind the public parking lot, next to Manitou’s Memorial Park, you will see the stub of a road called Cliff Road. See the two arrows in the photograph.
These two dead ends were once connected, but were severed by the tall causeway of fill dirt for the Highway 24 bypass.
See? Interesting, if useless, trivia abounds!