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Welcome to the Cortez Tours Blog!

Cortez Tours - About Me - About the Blog

Check here for things to do in southwest Colorado, and Mesa Verde Country!

Cortez Tours is a small walking tour company based in Cortez, Colorado. Right now (June 2022) it's a one-woman business, run by me - Helen West! From August through May I teach music at a public high school in Shiprock, New Mexico. I started guiding tours during the summer as a way to make extra money and keep me busy during the 2 months off!

A group of 5 people watching the sun rise in Cortez, Colorado.
Guests on the Mesa Verde Sunrise Tour

When I was a student myself, I guided

tours for a bike & hike company in my hometown of Sitka, Alaska, so I have some experience developing and leading these educational experiences. As an educator, I love learning and sharing what I learn with others! Cortez Tours is all about that: learning and sharing.

Cortez Tours started as a single tour listed with Airbnb Experiences. I am branching out to

see if these tours are sustainable on their own. Cortez seems to be a place many people stay in order to explore the areas around us - Mesa Verde, Telluride, Hoveweep, etc. Because of this, I try to design shorter tours that meet early or late in the day so folks have time to conduct their own adventures! The sunrise tour is my most popular tour on Airbnb, but I am also developing a cowboy/ghost tour and a history/architecture tour. My partner, a PhD geologist, and I also might start guiding joint geology & history tours of Sand Canyon next summer!


About Me

Now that I've told you a little about my business - I suppose I should tell you about myself!

As I said before, I am a high school music teacher in the Navajo Nation. I love my job as an educator. I primarily teach band, jazz band, piano, and guitar but sometimes I am asked to teach classes like "Career Exploration" or other life skills classes. I love teaching music, but I think my favorite thing about being a teacher is getting to know my students and watching them come into their own as young adults.

I live in Cortez, Colorado with my partner, a geologist & wine enthusiast (he currently works at Sutcliffe Vineyards and makes his own wine!), and our two cats. We are both passionate about the outdoors - we have a sustainable, low-water garden & flower beds in our xeriscaped backyard. My parents live about 10 miles from us on 40 acres of land that we've turned into a lavender & wildflower farm. (Lavender is relatively drought-tolerant, so a much more sustainable crop than the water-heavy alfalfa that was there before.)

I, personally, love mountain biking (nothing extreme!), paddle boarding and hiking in the Colorado wilderness. I'm not a fan of winter, so my only winter sport is cross-country skiing. My partner and I are not overly outdoorsy though, so we spend a fair bit of time relaxing inside reading, or watching TV. My favorite shows include Bob's Burgers, What We Do in the Shadows, and Rutherford Falls.

What this Blog is About

This blog will explore all things Cortez & southwest Colorado! Sometimes I will write educational posts about the geology, climate, or history of this region. Sometimes I will write about things to do here during your stay here. I'll probably have a fair bit of food & drink recommendations - I do love food! My hope for this blog is to help you learn about Mesa Verde Country and plan your time here!

Thanks for Reading!

Welcome, again, to the Cortez Tours Blog! Check back soon for updates about and things to do in Cortez, Colorado & the Mesa Verde Country region!

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