The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in North America. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa tops for 600 years, many Ancestral Pueblo people began moving into pueblos they built into natural cliff alcoves. The structures ranged in size from one-room granaries to villages of more than 150 rooms. While still farming the mesa tops, they lived in cliff dwellings, repairing, remodeling, and constructing new rooms for nearly a century. In the mid-1200s, the population began migrating to the south, into present-day New Mexico and Arizona. By the end of the 1200s, most everyone had migrated away.
Use the links below to learn more about some of the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. For site locations, go to park maps, or click on the specific map located on each page below.
(Note: All maps on the following Cliff Dwelling pages open as pdfs. You can get the Free Adobe Reader, which is required to read the pdf files, here.)
To learn about other types of ancient dwellings, please see the Mesa Top Sites page.