Mesa Verde National Park

600 cliff dwellings. National Park

The Cliff Palace cliff dwell at Mesa Verde National Park.

How to get there:

The park is located in the southwest corner of the state and, from Denver, is reached via US-285 and US-160.

  • From US285/C470 to Fee Station
  • 353 miles 7 hours
  • GPS
  • Fee Station
  • 37.3317 -108.4158

In General:

Summer entrance fee is $20 per vehicle

Mesa Verde offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.

Visiting Cliff Palace, Balcony House, or Long House

You will first need to purchase a tour ticket. Ranger-guided tours are offered seasonally, and allow you to hike into and experience these Ancestral Puebloan sites.

Tour tickets can ONLY be purchased in person at the Far View Visitor Center.

Photo Ops:Historical Site or BuildingsVistasWildlifeFall Colors

Most of the cliff dwellings are best photographed in mid-to-late afternoon, with Balcony House being the exception. Close your lens down at least 1/2 stop and bracket your settings on Cliff Palace exposures.

Mesa Top Loop Road

A 6-mile driving tour with short, paved trails to twelve easily-accessible sites, including surface dwellings and cliff dwelling overlooks. Highlights include Sun Point Overlook, Square Tower House, and views of Cliff Palace from Sun Point and Sun Temple stops. Overlooks also found on the 6-mile Cliff Palace Loop Road. Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

Spruce Tree HouseHiking

  • Length: 1/2 mile RT
  • Elev gain: 100 ft
  • Rating: Easy
  • Hiking Time: min. 45 mins

Trail begins at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Rangers are on-site to answer questions.

Far View Sites ComplexHiking

  • Length: 3/4 miles RT
  • Elev gain: level
  • Rating: Easy
  • Hiking Time: min. 30 mins

Far View House plus four other villages and a dry reservoir along the unpaved trail. Four miles (6.4km) north of the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

Leave a Comment