Cliff Palace Discovery
On December 18th, 1888, two cowboys, Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law Charlie Mason, were riding across the mesa top looking for stray cattle. At the edge of the pinyon and juniper forest near today’s overlook at Sun Temple, they came upon a vast canyon. Through the blowing snow they could distinguish something in the cliffs which looked like "a magnificent city." These ranchers from the Mancos Valley may have been the first white men to see what they called "Cliff Palace." After further exploration, they entered the dwelling and made a small collection of artifacts before leaving for the day. Over the next 18 years, these same men, as well as various exploring parties and tourist groups, made expeditions into Mesa Verde.
Did You Know?
Since 1996, 230 of the 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park have received Condition Assessment. More...