Cliff Dwelling Tours

A ranger with white hair and mustache gestures with hands while visitors gather around listening
A tour of Long House with Ranger Joe

NPS/Kayla McCraren

Visiting a Cliff Dwelling

Most cliff dwellings can be entered only on a ticketed tour with a ranger. The 2022 tour season will run from May 1 through October 22.
Tour tickets can be purchased only on or by calling 877-444-6777. Tickets are available 14 days in advance (except for as stated above), 8:00 am MST, on a rolling daily window. For example, tickets for May 2nd will be available starting April 18th at 8:00 am MDT. Demand for tour tickets is high. We recommend reserving tickets as soon as they become available.

The one cliff dwelling that can be visited without a tour is Step House, on Wetherill Mesa.

Graphic that reads Make a reservation now at: Recreation logo has an A as a tent, I as a tree, and O as a compass.
Purchase your tour tickets 14 days in advance on

Ranger-Assisted Tours

A ranger-assisted tour is a timed-entry experience that allow visitors to move through a cliff dwelling at their own pace and in a socially distanced way. Rangers stationed along the route will facilitate and provide interpretation.

Cliff Palace
Cliff Palace is a world-famous masterpiece of architecture and design and the largest cliff dwelling in North America. Built between 1190 and 1280 CE, Cliff Palace was once home to over 100 people.Today, it stands as a testament to the engineering and artistic achievements of the Ancestral Pueblo people. For a virtual tour of Cliff Palace, go to .

On this 30-minute ranger-assisted tour, you will descend uneven stone steps and climb four ladders, with an elevation change of 100 feet (30 m). Total walking distance is 1/4 mile (0.4 km).

July 24 to October 22, 2022
9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm; tours every ½ hour

Long House
Located on Wetherill Mesa, Long House tours offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the quieter side of Mesa Verde. As the second-largest cliff dwelling, Long House feels both grand and intimate. Visitors will enjoy changing landscapes, picturesque views of distant canyons and mesas, and an active seep spring within the dwelling.

This 60-minute, ranger-assisted tour involves hiking 2.25 miles (3.6 km) roundtrip with an elevation gain of about 130 feet (40 m) and climbing two 15-foot (4.5 m) ladders within the site.

May 22 to September 24, 2022
9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm; tours every ½ hour

September 25 to October 22, 2022
9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm

Ranger-Guided Tours

On these more intimate, in-depth tours, rangers guide small groups into the park's backcountry to visit several of the park's lesser-seen cliff dwellings.

Balcony House
A tour of Balcony House is one of the most adventurous in the park and not for the faint-of-heart. You will scale the face of a cliff via several tall ladders, squeeze your way through a narrow tunnel on your hands and knees, and explore some of the same passages used over 800 years ago! For those ready for the challenge, this tour offers you the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Ancestral Pueblo residents who lived there. For a virtual tour, go to .

On this one-hour tour, you will climb a 32-foot (9.8 m) ladder, crawl through an 18-inch wide (45 cm) and 12-foot (3.7 m) long tunnel, and climb up a 60-foot (20 m) open cliff face with uneven stone steps and two 17-foot (5 m) ladders to exit.

July 24 to October 22, 2022
9:00 am, 11:00 am, and 1:00 pm
Mug House
Named for three mugs tied together with yucca rope found hanging inside one of its rooms, Mug House was a village of 80 to 100 residents during the 1100 to 1200s CE. Along the rough trail to Mug House, tours will also experience Adobe Cave, Ancestral Pueblo rock art, and wonderful views of Rock Canyon.

This strenuous 90-minute, 2.25-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 ft (30 m), and includes steep drop-offs, switchbacks, and scrambling up and down boulders. Each hiker must be able to scramble over boulders and navigate steep gravel trails unassisted.

May 22 to June 28, 2022
9:00 am and 11:00 am

Square Tower House
Featuring the tallest standing structure in the park, an intact kiva roof, original plaster and paint, and plentiful rock art, Square Tower House is one of Mesa Verde's most impressive cliff dwellings. Visitors to the Mesa Top Loop can get a great view from the overlook, but intrepid hikers are treated to an adventurous and intimate look inside Square Tower House on this special ranger-guided tour.

This strenuous 90-minute, 1-mile (2.6km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 feet (30 m), and includes steep drop-offs, switchbacks, and two ladders (the longest is 20 feet [6.1m]). Each hiker must be able to scramble over boulders and navigate steep gravel trails unassisted.

Daily May 28 to June 15, 2022
8:30 am
A group of visitors and a park ranger stand along the front of an ancient stone masonry village built inside a sandstone cliff.
A ranger-guided tour of Mug House


Your Receipt Is Your Ticket

No ticket will be provided, so you must have a copy of your receipt to go on the tour. Because cell service is extremely limited, we cannot access reservations at tour sites. Please take a screenshot of your receipt or print a paper copy before you arrive at the park and bring it with you to show the ranger before your tour. Please see your ticket receipt or visit for further details.

Last updated: September 21, 2022

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330



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