• 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 »

Plant Walks

Suggested Plant Walks

Listed below are the best locations to view and understand the plant life in Mesa Verde National Park. Wayside exhibits and trail guides will assist you in identifying the park vegetation.

  • In the Headquarters Area, between the Museum and Chief Ranger's Office, small signs discuss the plants common to Mesa Verde.
  • Knife Edge Trail (2 miles) is accessible from Morefield Campground. Take along the trail guide to learn about park plants as well as other park topics.
  • Petroglyph Point Trail (2.4 miles) is located near the museum and Spruce Tree House. Take along the trail guide to learn about park plants as well as other park topics.
  • Spruce Tree House Trail (0.5 miles) is located near the museum. Take along the trail guide to learn about park plants as well as other park topics.

What's That Plant?

Mesa Verde is in the Upper Sonoran Life Zone. This zone is characterized by semi-arid climate, moderately high altitude, and pinyon-juniper forests. The plants listed below are typical of this region.

Common Trees and Shrubs Common Flowers
Big sagebrush, Artemesia tridentata Aster, Aster bigelovii
Cliff fendlerbush, Fendlera rupicola Evening primrose, Oenothera caespitosa
Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii Globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea
Gambel oak, Quercus gambelii Indian paintbrush, Castilleja linariaefolia
Mormon tea, Ephedra viridis Larkspur, Delphinium nelsonii
Mountain mahogany, Cerocarpus montanus Lupine, Lupinus ammophilus
Pinyon pine, Pinus edulis Lupine, Lupinus caudatus
Rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus nauseosus Mariposa lily, Calochortus nuttallii
Skunkbush sumac, Rhus trilobata Pricklypear cactus, Opuntia polycantha
Snowberry, Symphoricarpos oreophilus Scarlet gilia, Gilia aggregata
Utah juniper, Juniperus utahensis Scarlet penstemon, Penstemon bridgesii
Utah serviceberry, Amelanchier utahens Penstemon, Penstemon eatonii
Yucca, Yucca baccata

For more information on plant life in Mesa Verde National Park, go to Nature & Science.

Did You Know?

Cliff Palace in the snow

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.