2015 Holiday Open House

Images of Spruce Tree House lit up with luminaria
Views of Spruce Tree House lit up during Luminaria Holiday Open House celebrations

NPS Photo


Celebrate the Holidays in Mesa Verde: 2015 Luminaria Holiday Open House

Mesa Verde National Park invites the public to help kick off the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial with two special evenings in December. Both nights include viewing Cliff Palace aglow with lanterns, the first time it has been lit since 2006.

Wednesday, December 9 – Photographer's Event, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Photographers, this is your night to photograph the illumination of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in the park. The viewing area will be set up at Sun Temple from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Sun Temple is the last stop on the Mesa Top Loop Road and is just across a narrow canyon from Cliff Palace -- the perfect place to capture the scene. Rangers will be present to answer questions.

Thursday, December 10 – Annual Luminaria Holiday Open House, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Everyone is invited to join the park staff in this holiday celebration. To kick off the NPS Centennial Year, both Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House will be glowing with lantern light for the holiday open house this year. Farolitos will glow along the pathways throughout the headquarters area for viewing Spruce Tree House and around Sun Temple Overlook for viewing Cliff Palace. And as always, the annual holiday celebration will also feature musical entertainment and refreshments in the headquarters area near Spruce Tree House and the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.

Parking for the event will be at the old Far View Visitor Center parking lot, a 15 mile drive from the park entrance. Free shuttle buses will take visitors from Far View to the headquarters area and Sun Temple Overlook. (Please note that visitors are discouraged from bringing camera stabilization devices to the Sun Temple Overlook on this night.)

The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum will remain open until 9:00 pm. Holiday entertainment featuring local musical groups will be on-going throughout the evening in the museum auditorium and viewing area of Spruce Tree House. The schedule of performances is as follows:

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum Auditorium
5:00 pm to 5:30 pm The Blue Jazz Band, Mancos School District
5:45 pm to 6:15 pm Yvonne Bilinski, Storyteller, Fort Lewis College
6:15 pm to 7:00 pm The Southwest Singers, Cortez, Colorado
7:10 pm to 8:15 pm Lee Bartley, Pianist, Mancos, Colorado
Back Porch (Balcony) of the Chief Ranger's Office
6:00 pm to 6:15 pm
6:30 pm to 6:45 pm
7:00 pm to 7:15 pm
7:30 pm to 7:45 pm
David Nighteagle, Flute, Cortez, Colorado
David Nighteagle, Flute, Cortez, Colorado
David Nighteagle, Flute, Cortez, Colorado
David Nighteagle, Flute, Cortez, Colorado

A night sky program will be offered from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, dependent on clear skies. Learn about the celestial bodies and the importance of astronomy in Native American agriculture.

The non-profit Mesa Verde Museum Association (MVMA) Museum bookstore will be open highlighting the sale of books, posters, puppets, historic photographs, and great holiday gifts as well as in-store specials. Bring your gift list along to take advantage of this special occasion. Proceeds benefit Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde National Park would like to thank Cortez City Market and Aramark Sports and Entertainment for providing refreshments. In addition, we would also like to thank the Mesa Verde Museum Association, the Mesa Verde Foundation and our volunteers for event support.

The holiday open house event is free (the park entrance fee will be waived after 4:00 pm).


Mark your calendar and plan to join us for the park festivities! Dress warmly with winter footwear and please bring a flashlight. For further information, please contact the park at 970-529-4465.

Last updated: December 4, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330


(970) 529-4465

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