MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK (USA)

INTRODUCTION

Mesa Verde National Park is located in the southwestern corner of the state of Colorado. The park is world-renowned for the incredibly well-preserved cliff dwellings it protects. Mesa Verde is also notable for its desert landscape of tall mesas and steep canyons. The Mesa Verde National Park cliff dwellings are so historically important that they have been named a World Heritage Site.

KEY ATTRACTIONS

The major attractions in the park can be seen in just a half day.

Cliff Palace: To see this large, spectacular ruin, you’ll descend about 100 feet on a steep trail over 120 uneven stone steps. At the end, you’ll climb five, eight-foot wooden ladders. It’s worth the trip for a close-up look at how people lived here.

Balcony House: The Park’s most challenging tour will take you down a 100-foot-long staircase and up a 32-foot tall ladder. You’ll crawl through a 12-foot long tunnel, and climb another 60 feet on ladders and stone steps. When you get there, you’ll find a smaller ruin, perched in a cliffside niche with such a steep drop off that the residents built a wall to keep from falling off.

Spruce Tree House – . Starting at the Chapin Mesa Museum, you descend 100 feet into Spruce Tree Canyon, where you’ll see Mesa Verde’s “best-preserved cliff dwelling”.

Cedar Tree Tower - located off the road in-between the Far View Visitor Center and the Chapin Mesa Museum, it is an ancient kiva complex and tower, the purpose of which isn’t entirely known.

GETTING AROUND

There are four main areas of the park: Morefield Campground, Far View, Chapin Mesa, and Wetherill Mesa. For the most part you will need private transportation in order to move throughout the park. The only public transit available is on Wetherill Mesa, where a tram services the area that is otherwise inaccessible to automobiles.