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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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  • Fire Restrictions in Effect

    Due to recent hot, dry, and windy conditions, the park is currently at very high fire danger. The following fire restrictions are in effect: No open fires are permitted anywhere within the park. Smoking is only permitted inside an enclosed vehicle. More »

Cedar Tree Tower

Near the four-way intersection on Chapin Mesa (map), Self-Guided, No Fee Required

Cedar Tree Tower

Cedar Tree Tower


Cedar Tree Tower is one of several tower sites that have been discovered on the mesa tops. Towers were primarily built during the Classic period (A.D. 1100 to 1300) at Mesa Verde and are usually associated with a kiva. The purpose of a tower-kiva complex is not known. Some speculate that towers had a ceremonial purpose based on their close association with kivas. Other people propose that the mesa top towers were part of a communication system.
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Farming Terraces

Farming terraces


Adjacent to the Cedar Tree Tower area is the trailhead for the Farming Terrace Trail. This 1/2 mile loop trail provides an opportunity for a leisurely hike. Along the trail there are good examples of Ancestral Puebloan check dams and farming terraces.

Terracing was a common strategy used by the people of Mesa Verde. Check dams were built along sloping, narrow drainages, creating the terraced effect. The dams slowed water runoff from rainfall or melting snow. As the water slowly ran down the drainage, soil would be captured behind each dam. These pockets of soil retained moisture and became perfect places for planting. The Farming Terrace Trail helps you to discover how farming was accomplished at Mesa Verde 800 years ago.

Did You Know?

Cliff Palace

Since 1996, 230 of the 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park have received Condition Assessment. More...