Mesa Verde National Park
The Four Corners most popular attraction
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 and considered the largest archaeological preserve and first cultural National Park in the country created in 1906 by president Roosevelt. Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.
Our Mesa Verde professionals guide you through time on this comprehensive cultural tour of the Ancestral Pueblo people. On this tour you will visit the park’s most spectacular cliff dwellings while covering the entire history of the park and surrounding area. The trip includes transportation, lunch, park entrance fees, and ranger-guided tour tickets.
The perfect tour to catch some of the highlights of Mesa Verde National Park while saving time for other activities in the area. We have created two options for this half day experience: the more casual Morning Tour and the more adventurous Afternoon Tour.
Was terrific well worth the time. Learned so much on the history and culture. Frank tailored the info to our interests and really cared that we enjoyed ourselves. We highly recommend the company they provided a positive experience from start to finish. – Raymondd147
Why A Guided Tour of Mesa Verde National Park?
- Highly trained guides who are passionate about Mesa Verde
- Customized tour that visits only the best sights
- We purchase ranger-guided tour tickets days in advance to guarantee availability
- Smaller vehicles and guide-to-guest ratio provide access to parts of the park large tour buses cannot
- Carefree experience
- Did we mention the best guides on earth!
Mesa Verde’s Largest Cliff Dwelling
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing five, 8-10ft ladders, on a 100ft vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile, round-trip. The tour begins at Cliff Palace Overlook, a 23-mile, one-hour drive from the Visitor and Research Center.
Adventurous Cliff Dwelling Tour
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing a 32 ft. ladder, crawling through a 12ft.-long tunnel, and climbing up a 60ft open rock face with two 10ft ladders to exit the site. The tour begins at the Balcony House parking area, a 25-mile, 1-1/4 hour drive from the Visitor Center
Spruce Tree House
Closed until further notice due to rock fall.
Mesa Verde’s Most In-Depth Tour
Starting at the Wetherill Mesa information kiosk, this two-hour ranger-guided tour involves hiking at least 2.25 miles round-trip, and climbing two 15-foot ladders within the site. The hike has an elevation gain of about 130 feet. The tour ends at the Long House trailhead, giving you the choice of returning to the kiosk or exploring more of Wetherill Mesa on your own. Allow about 2.5 hours (total) for tour and return to kiosk.
Historic District Walking Tour
This 90 minute, easy walking tour of early park buildings on Chapin Mesa, highlights how archaeologists, rangers, and New Deal Laborers, created the first cultural national park in the United States. From the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the NPS Organic Act of 1916, to the New Deal and into the 21st century, hear the influences that have shaped the first century of Mesa Verde National Park.
Far View Sites Complex
Five Mesa Top Villages & Far View Reservoir
Far View House plus four other villages and a dry reservoir on a level 3/4-mile unpaved trail. Four miles north of the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.
Cedar Tree Tower
Mesa Top Tower and Kiva
Ancestral Puebloan tower and kiva complex can be viewed from the road.
Pithouse, Petroglyphs and Cliff Dwelling
A 100 foot descent and ascent on a winding path. Total walking distance is about one mile round-trip. Allow 45 minutes to one hour. Trail begins near the Wetherill Mesa Kiosk.
Badger House Trail
Trail to Four Mesa Top Sites
The 2.25 mile round-trip trail through Badger House Community surface sites begins at Wetherill Mesa Kiosk. Your walk through this area is a journey through 600 years of prehistory.
Prater Ridge Trail 7.8 miles round-trip
Begins on the west end of Morefield Campground. The trail ascends Prater Ridge and follows a loop around the top of the ridge, returning via the same route. A cut-off trail can be taken which shortens the trail to five miles. Changes in elevation and vegetation along with views of the surrounding area are highlights of this trail.
Knife Edge Trail 2 miles round-trip
The trail follows a section of the old Knife Edge Road, from the northwest corner of Morefield Campground towards the Montezuma Valley Overlook. This trail provides good views of Montezuma Valley. Trail guide available. Built in 1914 as the main access into the park, old-timers still proudly talk about what a feat it was to build, or “hang,” a road on this steep bluff.
Point Lookout Trail 2.2 miles round-trip
The trail switchbacks up the back side of Point Lookout and traverses the top of the mesa. This trail provides excellent views of both Montezuma and Mancos valleys, as well as the surrounding countryside.
Petroglyph Point Trail 2.4 miles round-trip
Begins from the Spruce Tree House trail, and continues below the edge of the plateau to a petroglyph panel, makes a climb to the top of the mesa and returns via the rim to the museum. This trail provides views of Spruce and Navajo Canyons and is the only trail in the park to view petroglyphs. The trailhead is located near the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.
Spruce Canyon Trail 2.4 miles round-trip
Begins from the Spruce Tree House trail, follows the bottom of Spruce Tree Canyon, turns up Spruce Canyon, and returns to the museum via the picnic area. The trailhead is located near the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. The Spruce Canyon Trail offers an opportunity to explore the canyon bottoms of Mesa Verde and discover the plants and wildlife that live in this habitat.
Soda Canyon Overlook Trail 1.2 miles round-trip
Begins one mile north of the Balcony House parking area along the Cliff Palace Loop Road. The trail is an easy walk to the canyon edge and offers views of Balcony House and other archaeological sites along Soda Canyon. The trail goes through big sagebrush, Utah juniper, yucca, and gambel oak. This is a fairly low-growing, open area and will be hot in the summer.
Farming Terrace Trail .5 mile round-trip
Beginning and ending on the spur road to Cedar Tree Tower, this 1/2 mile loop leads to a series of prehistoric check dams built by the Ancestral Puebloans to create farming terraces. This trail is a good place to look for lizards, hummingbirds, and a wide variety of plants.
Nordenskiold Site No. 16 Trail 2 miles round-trip from information kiosk
This trail offers a leisurely stroll on the quietest trail in Mesa Verde, and leads to an overlook of Nordenskiold Site No. 16. The 2000 Pony Fire severely burned this area. As a result, there is no shade available along the trail. In 1891, 23-year old Swedish scientist Gustaf Nordenskiold visited Mesa Verde. Using painstaking field methods for his time, he excavated many sites, including this one. His book, “The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde,” was the first extensive examination and photographic record of Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings.
Badger House Community Trail 2.25 miles round-trip from information kiosk
This combination gravel and paved trail begins at the information kiosk and winds through four mesa top sites, covering 600 years of occupation.