Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

One of my earliest childhood memories was descending into the narrow kiva at Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde National Park. I was merely a toddler, and perhaps it stuck with me because I was freaked out. In the dim light of that subterranean chamber built by the Ancestral Puebloan Indians, I must have sensed something haunted.

Shortly after my daughter was born, I was fortunate enough to go back to Mesa Verde and photograph its cliff dwellings, crumbling towers and surreal cities. As one of 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States, it is absolutely worth the long drive from … well, anywhere. It’s truly close to nothing.

  • &#;Photographer's Insight In mid-afternoon in summer, the kiva at Spruce Tree House is slashed by a single beam of sunlight through its opening.