Guided Tours

The following cliff dwellings can only be visited by taking a ranger-guided tour. Tours are strenuous. Due to high demand for tours during the busy summer season, you may be asked to choose only one tour per day between Cliff Palace and Balcony House. Long House may be visited on the same day as Cliff Palace or Balcony House.

Tour tickets for Balcony House, Cliff Palace, and Long House must be purchased in person and can be purchased up to two days in advance. Please visit Purchasing Tour Tickets, to find out where tour tickets are sold.

Please see the park schedule to learn when the following tours are available.

Tour at Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace


Cliff Palace
Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders, on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip. The tour begins at Cliff Palace Overlook, an 23-mile (37km), one-hour drive from the Visitor and Research Center.

Please note: Essential preservation work on Cliff Palace is required this year. Please check here for current tour schedules.

View of courtyard in Balcony House

Balcony House

Balcony House
Adventurous Cliff Dwelling Tour
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing a 32 ft. ladder, crawling through a 12ft.-long tunnel, and climbing up a 60ft (20m) open rock face with two 10ft (3m) ladders to exit the site. The tour begins at the Balcony House parking area, a 25-mile (40.2km), 1-1/4 hour drive from the Visitor Center. Please check here for current schedules.

Spruce Tree House in winter

Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House
Best-Preserved Cliff Dwelling
During the winter months, from early November to early March, visits to Spruce Tree House are available by free, ranger-guided tours only. Three tours are available each day (check here for tour times). Each one-hour tour involves a 100ft (30m) descent and ascent on a winding path. Walking distance is 1/2-mile (1km) round trip. Tours begin at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.
•During the spring, summer, and fall (early March to early November), Spruce Tree House is available on a self-guided basis.

CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) boy at Cliff Palace

CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) boy at Cliff Palace

Twilight Tours in Cliff Palace
Join historical figures from Mesa Verde's past for a 90-minute tour of the park's most popular cliff dwelling, Cliff Palace. These characters, locked in their own time period, will give a fascinating perspective of their Mesa Verde experience.
•Tour is limited to 20 people
•$12.00 per person (Tickets can be purchased in advance, online at or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.)

Cliff Palace in twilight

Cliff Palace in twilight

Cliff Palace Photography Tours
Photographers, here is a chance to spend 90 minutes in Cliff Palace with a park ranger in a small group setting. Dramatic sunset lighting will appeal to both amateur and professional photographers.
•Tour is limited to 10 people
•$20.00 per person (Tickets can be purchased in advance, online at or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.)

WETHERILL MESA (Open Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekends)

Visitors on a guided tour of Long House

Long House

Long House
Mesa Verde's Most In-Depth Tour
Starting at the Wetherill Mesa information kiosk, this two-hour ranger-guided tour involves hiking at least 2.25 miles (3.6km) round-trip, and climbing two 15-foot (4.5m) ladders within the site. The hike has an elevation gain of about 130 feet (40m). The tour ends at the Long House trailhead, giving you a choice of returning to the kiosk or exploring more of Wetherill Mesa on your own. Allow about 2.5 hours (total) for tour and return to the kiosk.

The Wetherill Mesa information kiosk is a 12-mile (19km) drive along the Wetherill Mesa Road (begins near mile marker 15). Allow 1-1/4 hours to drive to the kiosk from the Visitor and Research Center. Vehicles over 25-feet (8m) long are prohibited on this road.

ARAMARK Mesa Verde (Park Concession)


Half-Day Guided Bus Tours
Mid-April to mid-October

Mesa Verde National Park concessioner ARAMARK conducts guided bus tours that offer modern views of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Tours stop at archeological sites along the Mesa Top Loop Road and include a walking tour of Cliff Palace. Tours depart Far View Lodge at 8:00 am and 1:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center, Far View Lodge and Terrace, and Morefield Campground. For more information about bus tours, visit the ARAMARK website.

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