• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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Step House

On Wetherill Mesa (map), Self-Guided, No Fee Required

View of Step House
Step House
Separator bar with triangles in color
View of pithouse reconstruction in the Step House alcove.

Pithouse reconstruction


Step House is unique because there is clear evidence of two separate occupations in the same site. A Modified Basketmaker site, dating to A.D. 626, is situated between the old stone steps on the south and the large boulders on the north. The rest of the alcove contains a masonry pueblo dating to Classic Pueblo times (A.D. 1226).
Step House

Step House


Step House is a self-guided cliff dwelling. The 3/4 mile trail is steep (a 100 foot descent and ascent on a winding path). Your time in the site is self-paced so you can enter and exit at your leisure. There is a ranger on duty in the dwelling to answer questions between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Step House can be entered before or after a Long House tour. Allow approximately 45 minutes to visit the site in addition to the 1-1/2 hour long tour of Long House. The sites on Wetherill Mesa provide for much quieter and slower paced visit. It is worthwhile to spend at least half a day on Wetherill Mesa. It usually takes 3 to 4 hours to visit all of the Wetherill sites, but can easily take longer if someone wants to take advantage of all the walking trails in the area.


Step House and Wetherill Mesa are open between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day (the last Sunday in May through the first Monday in September). Step House is reached by driving out a 12 mile winding road that leaves the main park road just beyond the Far View Lodge near mile marker 15. The steep, winding road follows an historic fire trail for 12 miles. Vehicle length is restricted to 25 feet or less.

Did You Know?

View of mesas

The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.