Ancestral Puebloans (also called the Anasazi Indians, meaning “the ancient ones”) were the first to live in the area where Mancos State Park now sits. They inhabited the four corners area in ancient times from A.D. 1 to A.D. 1300. In fact, the region supported a much larger population a thousand years ago than it does today. Eventually, the Spaniards entered the area and dominated from the 1600s to the 1800s.
The Spaniards attempted to create a path from the declining empire of Santa Fe to the Spanish presidio in Monterey, CA. The town of Mancos was named after a Spaniard who injured himself near the Rio de los Mancos, which literally means “river of the cripple” in Spanish.
Soon came the discovery of gold and silver 50 miles northeast of Silverton. The area’s then booming economy involved ranching, farming and lumber operations. After WWII, tourism and recreational development dominated the area.
In 1948, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation completed the Jackson Gulch Dam, which supplied drinking water for Mesa Verde and Surrounding areas. The park became part of the Colorado State Parks system in 1987.
Near the beautiful San Juan Skyway and surrounded by the majestic San Juan mountain range, Mancos State Park is a southwest Colorado's hot spot for fishing.