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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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 »

Laws & Policies

Superintendent's Compendium

The compendium (pdf, 691 kb) is a document that lists special designations, closures, permit requirements, and other restrictions imposed under discretionary authority of the superintendent.

 

Marijuana on Federal Lands

Posted: January 27, 2014. With the legalization of marijuana in the State of Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park would like to provide clarification regarding the use of possession of marijuana on Federal lands. The recently passed Colorado State law, which allows for limited recreational marijuana use under certain conditions, has no bearing on Federal laws which continue to identify marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug, and prohibit its use.

Possession of marijuana or use of any amount of marijuana is still prohibited in Mesa Verde National Park, its facilities, concessions, and campgrounds. Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for an individual or $10,000.00 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both (16 U.S.C. 551, 18 U.S.C. 3559 and 3571).

If you have questions, please contact the Chief Ranger's Office at 970-529-4461.

 

Firearms Regulations

As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in this park.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. As a starting point, please visit our state’s website.

Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park; those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.


 

General Park Regulations - Protect Yourself, Protect the Park

Printable Version (pdf, 65kb)

It is your responsibility to know and follow the rules and regulations of the park. By observing the rules, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit plus help Mesa Verde preserve its fragile archeological sites and natural ecosystems.

Bicycling

  • Due to the steep nature of the park road, lack of shoulders and poor condition of the pavement, organized bicycle groups are prohibited.
  • Bicycle riders must comply with all traffic regulations, ride in single file, and as far to the right side of the road as possible.
  • Bicycles are not allowed on the Wetherill Mesa road.
  • Bicycles may be ridden only on established public roads (except Wetherill Mesa road) and parking areas. Bicycles are not allowed on trails.
  • Each bicycle must exhibit a white light on the front visible from 500 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear visible for 300 feet during periods of low visibility and in the tunnel.
  • Bicycle riders may not be attached to or towed by a motor vehicle.
  • No bicycle shall be used to carry more people at one time than it was designed and equipped to handle.


Campfires

  • Fires are only allowed within designated fire grates located at Morefield Campground and the Chapin Mesa Picnic area. Collecting or cutting firewood is not permitted.
  • Fire restrictions are sometimes put into place during periods of extreme fire danger.


Camping

  • Camping or sleeping in vehicles is permitted only in Morefield Campground.
  • Food storage: Keep all coolers and cooking utensils locked away in your vehicle when they are not in use. Do not store food in your tent. Use your car trunk or be sure your vehicle is closed up with the food covered or out of view. Dispose of trash or food waste in animal-proof receptacles. Food storage lockers are available in the group camping area and Taos Loop.
  • Fires must be kept in designated fire grates only. Collecting or cutting firewood is not permitted.


Cliff Dwelling Tours - Know Before You Go

Visiting a cliff dwelling can be strenuous. The cliff dwellings are at 7,000 foot (2134 m) elevation. Please consider your physical health before hiking or going on tours. Trails are steep and uneven, with steps and ladders. Visiting cliff dwellings or hiking is not recommended for those with heart or respiratory problems.

  • Children on Tours
    Parents, please watch your children at all times - especially on trails, in the cliff dwellings, and near canyon rims. Although there are no height or age restrictions for tours, children must be capable of walking the extent of the trails, climbing ladders, and negotiating steps independently. All infants must be carried in backpacks while on tours and adults carrying children in backpacks must be able to maintain mobility and balance.
  • Judgment
    Your safety depends on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention. Learn about the physical nature of the tours BEFORE you go. This information is on the website, in the visitor guide handout, at the visitor center, and described by rangers before selling tour tickets and leading the tours. Don't ruin your vacation by having an accident. Your safety is your responsibility.


Cultural Resources

  • Please do not sit, stand, climb, or lean on fragile archeological structures.
  • Only water is allowed in sites; no food or other beverages.


Hiking

  • In order to reduce both natural (plants/animals) and cultural (archeological) areas from resource damage, hiking is ONLY allowed on designated, marked trails. For information on the trails, click here.
  • Pets are not allowed on trails.
  • Visitors may not enter cliff dwellings unless accompanied by a uniformed park ranger.


Natural Resources

  • Disturbing or collecting natural features (plants, rocks, etc.) is prohibited.
  • Feeding, capturing, chasing, or teasing wildlife is prohibited and can be dangerous. Remember, these are wild animals.


Pets

  • Pets are not allowed on trails, in archeological sites, or in buildings (service animals, excepted).
  • Pets may be walked along paved roads, in parking lots, and at the campground. However, pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle.
  • Leaving pets unattended or tied to any object within the park is prohibited, including the exterior of motor vehicles parked within park boundaries.
  • For more information, click here.


Site Etiquette for School Groups

Teachers, please go over the page entitled, Park Etiquette: Taking Care of Mesa Verde National Park with your students before your field trip.


Travel Restrictions

Main Park Road
Trailers and towed vehicles are not permitted beyond Morefield Campground. If not camping, you may park these vehicles in the large parking lot located near the entrance station.

Tunnel (between mileposts 4 and 5)

  • The tunnel has a height restriction of 20.5 feet (6.25 m).
  • Each bicycle ridden through the tunnel must exhibit a white light on the front visible from 500 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear (or reflective clothing) visible for 300 feet.

Wetherill Mesa Road (open Memorial Day to Labor Day)
The Wetherill Mesa Road has sharp curves and steep grades on the twelve-mile stretch from the Far View Visitor Center to Wetherill Mesa. Vehicles on this road are restricted to less than 8,000 pounds and 25-feet in length.

Did You Know?

The north courtyard of Balcony House

Contrary to popular belief, the Ancestral Puebloan people of Mesa Verde did not disappear. They migrated south to New Mexico and Arizona, and became today’s modern pueblo people.