Frequently Seen Plants in Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is in the Colorado Plateau Province characterized by deep canyons, high elevation and an arid climate. These factors shape the plant species that grow at the park. Pinyon-juniper woodlands, mixed herb grasslands, and mountain shrubland are the largest plant communities at Mesa Verde supporting many of the park's flora.

Discovering the Plants of Mesa Verde National Park

Scroll through photographs of some of the most frequently seen plants in the park. If you are trying to identify a white, pink, or blue wildflower, be sure to look in all three color sections below.

Note the following codes used in the photo gallery:
Sp, Su, F = Flowering time of spring, summer, fall spp. = several species of that plant NN = non-native

Thanks to Al Schneider of for providing the photographs for the following photo gallery.
Photos are ©Al Schneider and may not be reproduced without permission.
A detailed list of typical plant species can be found by downloading:
Trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in Mesa Verde National Park (pdf, 130 kb)

You can also visit the Mesa Verde National Park Species List for a complete list of plants.

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.
  • Prater Ridge Trail (can be a short stroll or a 7.8-mile loop)
    Accessible from Morefield Campground and is one of the best trails for wildflowers.
  • Knife Edge Trail (2 miles, round-trip)
    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 mile round-trip)
    Located near the museum and Spruce Tree House. Take along the trail guide to learn about park plants as well as other park topics.

Last updated: January 25, 2018

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330


(970) 529-4465

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