6 sites · RVs, Tents38 acres · Cortez, Montezuma
Under new stewardship beginning January, 2021, we have been working day and night for the past two and a half years caring for the land and renovating the historic lodge with a commitment to beauty, sustainability, regenerative agriculture, and efficiency. This magical place, surrounded by over 500,000 acres of protected land, is a 38 acre desert oasis near Mesa Verde, Sand Canyon and Hovenweep.
Pitch your tent or park your small pop up or tiny rv (under 20 feet) in a heritage orchard under and alongside magnificent red cliffs. Guests can enjoy produce from our community gardens, fruit from the orchard when ripe and a well stocked community kitchen to cook in, as well as gas and charcoal bar-b-ques. We also have a bathroom and hot shower designated for campers as well as an additional public bathroom in the main lodge.
Guests have full access to the grounds with a variety of lovely sit spots throughout, consisting of hammocks, chairs, and tables with sun umbrellas where you can work on your computer (if you must, we do have fast reliable wifi), nap, read a good book, or daydream, as well as three unique red rock canyons that merge here, with pour overs that become rushing waterfalls when we are blessed with a good rain. Both an archeological and horticultural preserve, the property includes pear, apricot, cherry, mulberry, plum, and peach trees, as well as a 50 plus year old apple orchard planted by George Kelly, a renowned horticulturist from Denver who came here in the 1960's with his wife Sue to create an oasis in the desert. You will also find hundreds of mature native and introduced trees, annual and perennial flowers, native grasses, and cacti throughout the property. We also have a labyrinth that begins directly below Sleeping Ute Mountain range which guests may ambulate.
Guests also have access to The Lodge, the original hacienda on the property built by George Kelly in the mid 1960's where we will be offering a delicious, creative, and healthy breakfast menu consisting primarily of local faire grown in the area, often by our neighbors here in the canyon, as well as local beer, wine, cider and small bites in the evening. (Please note: breakfast is no longer included in the price of your suite or campsite). You are welcome to relax at one of the tables in the shaded lodge patio, surrounded by perennial gardens and mature trees, as well as hang out and visit in the newly remodeled lodge living/dining room on a cozy couch in front of an aspen log gas fireplace. The space has plenty of board games to entertain, and fabulous art from all over the world. The lodge also has a wonderfully eclectic and fascinating library, curated by 4 different sets of stewards over 50 years, which you are welcome to explore and borrow from during your stay. There is a desk with a guest computer and printer for your use in the library, as well as maps of the area, brochures, and a public bathroom nearby.
We border Canyons of the Ancients immediately to the North, a 174,000 acre National Monument with the largest concentration of Ancestral Puebloan ("cliff-dweller") and archeological sites in the United States. A favorite public access point to The Canyons of the Ancients is the Sand Canyon trailhead, a five minute drive from the property up the main road. It is visited by hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders alike. McElmo creek flows along the Southern Border of the property and the highest peak of The Ute Mountain Range towers over us to the South. This 300,000 plus acres of wild land was valued as a sacred place by the Weeminuche Ute band. It still plays an important role in the ceremonies of their descendants, the Ute Mountain Tribe, and is not open to the public.
We are a genuine "oasis" on exquisite high desert land with profound ancient puebloan sites within steps. Guests have access to numerous significant, documented prehistoric Anasazi/Ancient Puebloan sites throughout the property, including the remains of a 13 room pueblo and 2 intact kivas, one of which has been restored by Road Scholar Groups, staying here over the past forty years, alongside archeologists from The Canyons of the Ancients. These sites date from the mid-Pueblo II to mid Pueblo III periods (ca. AD nine eighty- twelve twenty five) and guests are welcome to climb down inside the kivas and experience an intimate and awe inspiring encounter with the way our ancestors lived over a thousand years ago. Guests may follow our self-guided tour, originally known as “George Kelly’s 39-cent tour,” to visit each of the 12 main archeological sites on the property and learn about their history. It is very unusual to have this sort of intimacy with the ancients.
Sutcliffe Vineyard, with exceptional biodynamic wines and fabulous atmosphere, is five minutes away down road G and is open every afternoon for wine tastings. You can book a trail ride into the Monument to see Ancestral sites with our immediate neighbors to the west, Rodney and Kristi Carriker of Canyon Trails Ranch, former stewards of Kelly Place from the early 1980's to 2004. Our neighbors up the driveway have fruit orchards galore (apples, pears, plums, apricots, and peaches) as well as locally raised lamb and pasture raised chickens. All we need to do is make a phone call and Greg will come down in his 4 wheeler with as many pasture raised fresh eggs as you want for a bargain. There are farmers and seed savers throughout the McElmo canyon, and local farm stands and farmers markets in the canyon, Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos can be found Wednesday through Saturday from June-October.
Hovenweep is a thirty minute drive past the Sand canyon trail head and the entrance to Mesa Verde is a 40 minute drive back through Cortez. Ute Mountain Tribal park is an easy thirty minute drive towards four corners. Farther out you'll find Valley of the Gods, Canyon de Chelly, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness area, Monument Valley, Chaco Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park.
Wonderful live music, art, restaurants and wild adventures are easily accessed in the nearby mountain ski/biking/hiking/rafting towns of Durango and Telluride. A little closer to home you can explore the mostly undiscovered Colorado towns of Mancos, a growing artist community and Dolores, known for the beauty of the McPhee Reservoir and the Dolores river that flows through this eclectic small town.
Truly a magical, unique, and abundant place. Ancient Echoes @ Kelly Place is an ideal home base for your Southwest adventure.