Visiting Mesa Verde in the Fall Off-Season

The sun rises over mountains and the winding park road behind autumnal shrubs and a gnarled branch
Park Point Sunrise

NPS/Spencer Burke

While cliff dwelling tours are over for the season, fall is a beautiful time to visit Mesa Verde. Quieter than summer and warmer than winter, fall is a wonderful time to experience the culture and nature protected within Mesa Verde National Park.
 
 

Planning Your Visit This Season

To plan your visit, use the following suggestions, mix and match to suit your needs, or ask a park ranger for advice at the Visitor and Research Center.
 
IF YOU HAVE A FEW HOURS:
  • Your first stop should be at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center (at the park entrance) for information, orientation and current road and trail conditions.
  • Plan to spend 90 minutes on the roundtrip drive up and down the mesa. Enjoy some of the scenic overlooks along the drive.
  • Visit the Spruce Tree House Overlook by the museum (currently closed for renovation)
  • Drive the Mesa Top Loop Road, a six-mile loop designed as an introduction to the history and culture of the Ancestral Pueblo people at Mesa Verde, and listen to the Mesa Top Loop audio tour (43 minutes). Make sure you download the tour before starting the drive; service is spotty in much of the park.

IF YOU HAVE A FULL DAY:
  • Hike the rugged 2.4 mile (3.9 km) Petroglyph Point Trail to experience the natural beauty of Spruce Canyon and a significant panel of Ancestral Pueblo rock writing.
  • Walk the .75-mile (1.2 km) trail through old-growth pinyon-juniper forest between the Far View Sites, a mesa-top farming community with five excavated villages and a reservoir.
  • Visit Park Point, the highest point in the park at 8,427 feet (2,569 m), and enjoy dramatic 360° views of the entire Four Corners region.

IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE DAY...
  • Explore more of Mesa Verde's nearly 30 miles of hiking trails. Hike deep into Spruce Canyon for a showcase of Mesa Verde's diverse ecosystems and wildlife, the Knife Edge, Point Lookout, or Prater Ridge Trails for wide views over Montezuma Valley, the San Juan and La Plata ranges, and the north escarpment of Mesa Verde.
  • Visit Cedar Tree Tower and the .5-mile (0.8 km) Farming Terrace Trail to see how Ancestral Pueblo people farmed on the mesa.
  • Experience Mesa Verde's exceptionally dark night sky and celebrate the park's certification as the 100th International Dark Sky Park in 2021.

Last updated: October 29, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330

Phone:

970-529-4465

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