• 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 »


By an Act of Congress, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 29, 1906, certain tracts of land in southwestern Colorado were set apart as a public reservation known as Mesa Verde National Park. This land, inhabited by Ancestral Puebloans from approximately A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300, included the most complete and extensive concentration of prehistoric cliff dwellings in the United States. The park was charged with the preservation of the archeological sites and other works and relics of prehistoric inhabitants within its boundaries. Today, with over 52,000 acres, Mesa Verde National Park preserves and protects over 4,000 archeological sites, which includes 600 cliff dwellings, and over 3 million associated objects in the park’s research collection. The archeological sites found here, are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

The mission of Mesa Verde National Park is rooted in and grows from the park’s legislated mandate from 1906 -- its purpose for being. Other laws and Presidential Executive Orders have further clarified the park’s purpose and mission. This mission includes:

Preserving and protecting from injury and spoliation sites, artifacts and other works of Ancestral Puebloan peoples;
Protecting wildlife, birds, and other natural resources from willful destruction, disturbance and removal;
Managing and protecting the pristine character of designated wilderness on 8,100 acres;
Provide for research to increase knowledge and aid in the advancement of archeological science;
Maintaining American Indian rights annuities and benefits that are entitled by law, treaty and executive orders; and
Protecting the scenery of Point Lookout.


The Park Studies Unit at the University of Idaho conducts research to better understand the experiences, opinions, and needs of those who use and those who manage public lands. View the following reports for Mesa Verde National Park.

Did You Know?

Mesa top pueblo at Far View Sites Complex

Approximately 600 of the over 4700 archeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park are cliff dwellings. Other sites include mesa top pueblos, farming terraces, towers, reservoirs, and check dams.