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The Indian Dwellings at Manitou Springs

Updated on June 19, 2014

The Manitou Springs Indian Dwellings

Manitou Springs Indian Dwellings

I loved Colorado and I loved seeing the Anasazi Indian Cliff dwellings at Manitou Springs. These authentic Indian Cliff dwellings are situated off Route 24 just west of Colorado Springs where we were staying and are located at the foot of Pikes Peak nestling under the red sandstone overhang which protects them.

I said authentic but there does seem to be some controversy as to whether or not these are authentic Indian dwellings or not, some say that they are just out and out fakes. Some say that they are reconstructed dwellings from Mesa Verde that have been taken down stone by stone and relocated to Manitou Springs where they have been faithfully rebuilt to the original specifications. Lastly some say that these are authentic Anasazi Indian dwellings built by the Anasazi over 700 years ago.

As a simple tourist I cannot tell you which one of the above is the truth each of these opinions seem to have their following and they all seem very forceful when putting their view across. So instead of trying to judge which of these opinions represents the truth I will settle instead for sharing our day and photos of these Indian Dwellings and I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did.

Time to Explore

One of the first things you will notice as you wander around these ancient (I’m going for the authentic view) dwellings is the complete lack of any kind of notice telling you not to touch or not to go into, in fact you are positively encouraged to climb and explore the site which is a refreshing change.

Not needing much encouragement we set about exploring the Cliff Dwellings and as it was March we pretty much had the site to ourselves so we could go at our own pace and take as long as we wanted without putting anyone else out. I don’t know how many visitors these dwellings have in the more popular summer months but I suspect you won’t have quite as much freedom to do your own thing when there are many others who all also want to see the dwellings.

A Time to Explore

Free to Wander Inside the Dwellings

We were not limited to seeing these dwelling from just the outside we were free to wander where we liked inside of the dwellings as well. On our travels we have seen many such sites that we were only able to view at a distance because the fabric of the buildings or the artefacts would not withstand for long the hands and feet of thousands of tourists as they explored.

Many of the historical sites in my own country that I could wander around at will when I was a child have now been closed off to the public because of the damage that thousands of visitors cause just by visiting. The wear and tear that just people visiting an attraction can cause can actually be responsible for destroying it. The Major Oak the oldest tree in Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood and his outlaw band lived here) which is around eight hundred years old had had to be roped off because the feet of the visitors as they went close to the tree compacted the earth to such an extent that it was killing the tree that they had come to visit.

Inside the Dwellings

Views from Inside

From inside the dwellings you get commanding views of the surrounding countryside, Colorado is a very beautiful and impressive State.

Views from Inside the Dwellings

Visitor's Center

Close by the dwellings just a very short walk away is the Pueblo style three story Visitor's Center in which there is housed a very good gift shop and a small museum. The building was designed to complement the dwellings which I think it does very well which is not surprising because the Pueblo Indians are the descendants of the Anasazi who are said to have been the original inhabitants of the dwellings.

The Eagle Dance

When we visited in March there were no American Indian Dancing taking place for us to see and enjoy but if you visit during the summer months you will be able to see American Indian Dancing with all the elaborate and ornate costumes and trappings of the dance. Below is a short video I found on YouTube of The Eagle Dance being performed this year at Manitou Springs I hope you enjoy it.

The Eagle Dance

Did we Enjoy our Visit?

Well this brings this visit pretty much to a close, I hope that our visit and the photos that we took while there have given you an idea of what you will find at the Indian Dwellings in Manitou Springs.

Fellow Hubber PeggyW has done an excellent hub about her visit to the Cliff Dwellings at Manitou Springs with lots of photographs and videos.

PeggyW is such an excellent writer that you feel like you are on her visit right there alongside her.

Give yourself a real treat and go see for yourself

Did we enjoy our visit?

Yes we enjoyed our visit.

Would we go again?

Probably not it was nice to see but not worth a second visit once I think is enough.

Take some time out and see some of the other places we have been to. If you have never been to Spain then check out the Guadalest and Villajoyosa hubs you will be in for a real treat the photographs give you a real taste of Spain.


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    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Hi Peggy, you are so right they do compliment one another beautifully. I had a great time on my virtual tour. Your photographs and videos brought it all alive so beautifully.

      I have put several links to your site in various places in this hub along with my recommendation that folks give themselves a real treat by paying you a visit.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Maggs,

      You might want to hop on over to my recent hub about the same topic. I linked your hub to mine in several places and made it a bit different. I think that they compliment each other beautifully.

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      We got to see the Garden of the Gods that was an amazing place and it is easy to see why it got its name. We drove up to Pike's Peak when there was snow on the ground and nobody else around but that added to it for us. It is a beautiful part of the country.

      I hope that you get some sleep tonight Lol...

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Hey maggs, I live an hour from this site and I have yet to see it! You inspire me to head down there. I have been to Mesa Verde, where the ruins are more weather exposed. I do not believe these in Manitou Springs are authentic, as there were no Anasazi in this area- mostly Colorado Ute and Cheyenne.

      Manitou is an Algonquian word for "spirit." I love Manitou Springs! In fact, we nearly headed down there last Friday, so that we could try out a highly rated restaurant for our anniversary, but my daughter had to work and we wanted her along for a last fling before she heads to college.

      I agree it isn't that relevant to visit the actual site when you are experiencing something for the first time, but I am sad that you might have been misled by literature to believe it was authentic. This is certainly an educational site, as many local school children head there to experience what the Anasazi might have experienced-- Mesa Verde, located at the opposite end of the state, is quite a drive for Denver/Colorado Springs children.

      Were you able to take the train up Pike's Peak and see the Garden of the Gods? I hope you come back this way sometime soon! Thanks so much for writing about this site- it really brightened what is a sleepless night, truth be told... I am two days from becoming an empty nester...

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Hi mythbuster, I am so glad that you enjoyed the photographs, if you ever do get to visit this place there is some fantastic scenery locally that I am sure you would enjoy also.

    • mythbuster profile image


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I'm not sure about the authenticity of things presented here (no fault of yours, maggs224, and I loved your declaration of how you would present things just so as not to offend), either...but the pics are fantastic and I kinda think I'd like to travel to this place, myself, to see what might be authentic or not. Thanks for sharing your pics and ideas.

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Hi RGraf, I know when we visit foreign countries like the USA we tour exploring as we go. However, having lived in different countries and of course my own the UK, often we don’t visit interesting sites unless we have a visitor staying with us and we take them to see it. It took my German pen friend in the 1960’s before I saw Sherwood Forest and Newstead Abbey, both of which were almost on our doorstep.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I live here in the States and haven't seen it all. I want to take the kids here. Real or not history can be learned and that is what is important.

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I am glad you liked the pics, I have not been back to Liverpool for a long time, and I hardly ever visit the UK these days as I find it hard to leave the sunshine behind. Watching the weather that the UK has been having the last couple of years, makes me glad that I moved to warm sunny shores of Spain I am sure that we never had the flooding and the really high winds on such a regular basis before we moved to Spain.

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      What a great place and thanks for all the pics shared. So unique.

      I hope you still visit Liverpool from time to time. I lived there in the 90s. Lived in Anfield, worked in Bootle.

      Thanks for a lovely Hub. :)

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Thanks for visiting Peggy, I know that we enjoyed our visit to Manitou Springs, in fact I think we have enjoyed just about every place we have visited in the USA. The USA is such a vast and varied place with something interesting to see just about around every corner.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Maggs,

      The caves were probably authentic (nature at its best) and people probably took shelter in them (as one naturally would) when needed. So whether the exteriors are authentic representations of what the resident Indians would have least one gets an impression of life as it used to be in the past. Personally, I would hate to think that this is all a fabrication and not labeled as such...because why not? We would all still enjoy it as to what it represented. Right?

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Thanks Tammy I see you know the secret to being happy is not so much getting what you want but wanting what you've got! Thanks for your kind comments it is always a real blessing to see your name in my comments

    • TamCor profile image

      Tammy Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      What a great hub, maggs--I just found it!

      I went to Mesa Verde years ago--in the early 80's, and I was just as fascinated by the Anasazi dwelling ruins as you were by these. It was so interesting, seeing a way of life that is so hard to imagine, isn't it?

      Whether or not those are authentic is beside the point, I agree--you had a great time, and that's what matters!!!

      Thanks for posting this--I didn't know there were dwellings in Manitou Springs, so it was neat to see them!

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      asue thanks for your comments, I am sure that your husband would enjoy visiting this place and it is in a very beautiful part of America.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I went here when I was 15 years old and loved it.. Thinking about taking my husband there so I can share the experience with him Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      BkCreative thanks for your comments, I think we would have a great time hanging out also. One of my favourite sayings, though I don't know who said it, is'don't sweat the small stuff'

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      What an amazing place - thanks for the great photos! It is worth a visit. It amazes me how people used to live. Usually the homes were very well built - but so true, tourists will trample a place. I saw much on my visits to England before places were roped off. But little in my own country so this is a good stop.

      You sound like the very wise type of woman who makes up her mind to enjoy her life and not start out looking for imperfections! Look for a good time - and you will find it! We'd having a great time hanging out!!!!

      Thanks for sharing so much!

    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      Thanks Tonymac thanks for your comments glad you found it interesting

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Great info and what an interesting place - if it is a fake, then who did it and why - to catch tourists?

      Anyway thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      Love and peace


    • maggs224 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I know RNMSN these tourist traps are built especially for the gullible and lucky for them there are loads like me who are either gullible or don't care lol. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an authentic dwelling and a good replica same with paintings show me a Van Gogh and a good forgery and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Because I can’t tell the difference I get to enjoy either but the experts can only enjoy the real thing. Because I am so easily pleased I get to enjoy my life and the people I am with. I look for the best in people and more often than not I find it like the good says ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’ and I am content (if I can nail the godliness as well then I will be even more so.)lol

      I thought that was part of the dance I have much to learn

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I agree :) cute tourist trap though eh?/did you notice the authentic (cough) indian dancer when he fell right at the start of the dance? nice Tipi though...hope they had the door flap facing East.


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