Before the ancestral Puebloans moved down into the canyons and built cliff dwellings they lived primarily on the mesa tops in areas like the Far View Site. There they built large villages with 30 or more dwellings using much the same building materials and methods that they later used in the cliff dwellings: shaped sandstone blocks and mortar made of sand and ash. While they don't have the drama of the settlements down on the canyon walls, the Far View Site ruins are worth a quick stop because they represent life on the mesa tops as it was during the peak years of activity at Cliff Palace and Long House.
Because the mesa tops of Mesa Verde sloped to the south, residents here experienced a longer growing season than those living in the canyon bottoms. From the earliest days of human settlement around 500 AD, the mesa tops were the primary places to live and grow crops. The settlements evolved from the simple pit houses and kivas seen on Chapin Mesa to the multi-room complexes that are in evidence at Far View. Villages that housed upwards of 50 people were common, and remnants of nearly 50 villages have been found in the Far View area. Many of these settlements continued to be occupied hundreds of years after some of the people moved down to the cliff dwellings.
One very unique feature is the Far View Reservoir, the construction of which was an amazing accomplishment for these primitive people. Long believed to have supplied water to distant dwellings like Spruce Tree House, newer research has supported the idea that it was instead a ceremonial area. In either case, it is a beautiful and interesting structure on the site. The three-quarter-mile loop trail leads to several small villages in addition to the Megalithic House and Far View Tower.