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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Images showing a variety of geologic features.
Top left: Cliff House Sandstone, Top center: Point Lookout Formation, Top right: Mancos Shale, Bottom left: Alcove (Cliff Palace), Bottom center: Seep spring, Bottom right: Concretions.

The geological history of Mesa Verde National Park is as diverse as the cultural history of the region. The Ancestral Pueblo people recognized this diversity and used the geology of the area, such as seep springs and alcoves, to create a sustainable and advanced lifestyle. These people thrived in the Southwest, supporting and nourishing their families with the remarkable natural resources on the mesa and from nearby areas.

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.