New 2010 Visitor Experiences in Mesa Verde National Park
Contact: Tessy Shirakawa, 970-529-4628
Tickets Available, Monday April 26th!
Mesa Verde National Park joins with its partner, the nonprofit Mesa Verde Institute to provide visitors with new opportunities and experiences in the park this season. These three new hikes include a day-long hike to Spring House, day-long hike across Wetherill Mesa, and a two-hour hike to Mug House. The ranger-guided hikes begin on Memorial Day weekend, May 30th through Labor Day, September 6th. The Spring House hike will continue through September 30th. All tours are limited to 14 people. Tickets for Spring House and the Wetherill Mesa Experience may be purchased online at www.mesaverdeinstitute.org, prior to arrival in the park. Mug House tickets may only be purchased at the Far View Visitor Center up to 48 hours in advance.
“We are very excited to present this pilot program of new visitor experiences in the park. So little of the park is accessible to visitors or employees, and we hope this opportunity is well received by our neighbors and park visitors,” stated Bill Nelligan, Acting Superintendent. “We want visitors to know that there’s more to Mesa Verde than Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Spruce Tree House. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Mesa Verde National Park.”
Spring House is an 8-hour, 8-mile, very strenuous hike along an unpaved, uneven trail with an elevation change of 3,000 ft, and includes steep drop-offs and switchbacks. You will see more than just Spring House cliff dwelling. Hikers will have stunning views of Buzzard House, Teakettle House, Daniel’s House as well as other archeological sites perched in the sandstone recesses of Navajo and Wickiup Canyons. Lunch is included.
Wetherill Mesa Experience is a 6-mile, 6-hour easy to moderate hike and introduces the broad community landscape story of the Ancestral Pueblo people from earliest occupation in pithouses to the cliff dwellings. You will also learn about the Wetherill Mesa Archeological Project, jointly sponsored by the National Park Service and The National Geographic Society, 1958-1965, one of the largest archeological projects ever conducted in the United States. Binoculars are highly recommended for cross-canyon views of multiple cliff dwellings such as Kodak House and Double House. Lunch is included.
Mug House is a strenuous 2-hour, 3-mile round-trip hike along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 ft and includes one ladder, knotted rope, steep drop-offs, switchbacks, and scrambling over boulders. Mug House is named for the three mugs found tied together hanging on a peg inside one of its rooms. Mug House was also excavated during the Wetherill Mesa Archeological Project.
The Mesa Verde Institute will continue to host the Cliff Palace Twilight Tours led by historic characters from Mesa Verde’s past. These are 90-minute tours, beginning at 7 p.m. and limited to 20 people, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tickets may be purchased at the Far View Visitor Center.
Mesa Verde National Park: Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. There are over 52,000 square acres of parkland, of which 8,500 acres are designated wilderness. The park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1978 by UNESCO.
The park was established in 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt, to protect the culture and architecture of the Ancestral Puebloan people. It also presents a breathtaking natural landscape of high plateau country in southwestern Colorado.
Mesa Verde Institute: Inaugurated on the park’s centennial anniversary in 2006, the Institute was established to offer visitors expanded and in-depth experience in Mesa Verde National Park. Through weeklong seminars, 1-day workshops, educational hikes, lectures, and special programs, visitors of all ages may engage in enhanced educational and interpretive opportunities and gain a new, behind-the-scenes understanding of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners region.
These opportunities share the message that a sustained and thoughtful stewardship ethic is essential to preserving and protecting cultural and natural resources. In this spirit, the Institute is dedicated to sharing Mesa Verde with the world. For more information, visit their website at: www.mesaverdeinstitute.org.
Did You Know?
Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park. It has 150 rooms, plus an additional 75 open areas. Twenty-one of the rooms are kivas, and 25 to 30 rooms have residential features. The number of Ancestral Puebloans living in Cliff Palace at any one time was 100 to 120.