“Balcony House, with its well-preserved rooms, kivas, and plazas, stands as a tribute to those who built and occupied the site in the thirteenth century, the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico. Balcony House is also a tribute to the men who excavated and stabilized the site in the early part of the twentieth century…” (Kathleen Fiero, Balcony House: A History of a Cliff Dwelling, Copyright 1999 by Mesa Verde Museum Association.)
With 40 rooms, Balcony House is considered a medium size cliff dwelling. Only 10 sites in the park have more. Evidence of how room and passageway construction in the alcove evolved through time can easily be seen in Balcony House. Today, the tunnel, passageways, and modern 32-foot entrance ladder are what make it the most adventurous cliff dwelling tour in the park.
You may enter Balcony House by ranger-guided tour only. Tours are offered from late April to mid October. Purchase tickets for these one-hour tours at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center before driving to the site.
A group of prospectors, led by S. E. Osborn, first entered Balcony House in the spring of 1884. Accompanied by W. H. Hayes and George W. Jones, the goal of their mission was to locate coal seams in nearby Mancos Canyon. Both Osborn and Hayes left their names in the site, with Osborn also leaving the date Mar 22, 1884. Hayes also later left his name across the canyon in Hemenway House on March 31. In later writings, Osborn describes some of the sites he visited in the Mesa Verde in 1883 and1884.
Jesse Nusbaum excavated Balcony House in 1910. Nusbaum was not only an accomplished archeologist, he was also one of the first superintendents of Mesa Verde National Park.
Last updated: February 28, 2018