To get the most out of your visit to Mesa Verde, stop first at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center for park information or to purchase tickets if you wish to visit Cliff Palace, Balcony House, or Long House. The visitor center is located near the park entrance on U.S. Hwy 160. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, park headquarters, and Spruce Tree House are 21 miles (34 km) from the park entrance.
The route into the park is a steep, narrow, winding mountain road. Depending on weather, traffic, and road construction, plan at least two hours just to drive into and out of the park. The drive is scenic with a number pull-offs and overlooks that provide spectacular views into four states; please also use them to allow faster drivers to safely pass. Watch for wildlife and for rocks that may have fallen on to the road. The elevations in the park range from 6,900 feet to 8,572 feet.
Drive Times in Park
Please plan to arrive at your tour destination at least 15 minutes before your tour begins.
Current Travel Restrictions Though Navajo Nation Lands (as of May 21, 2020)
Visitors traveling from outside the state of Colorado should be aware that they may be traveling through the Navajo Nation on their journey. Due to the significant impact the pandemic has had on residents, there are curfews in place and services may be limited; especially for those traveling at night. Please be respectful of these residents and plan accordingly prior to passing through Navajo Nation lands. For additional information, visit https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19.
Main Park Road
Trailers and towed vehicles are not permitted beyond Morefield Campground. If not camping, you may park these vehicles in the large parking lot located near the entrance station.
Tunnel (between milesposts 4 and 5)
The tunnel has a height restriction of 20.5 feet (6.25 m).
Each bicycle ridden through the tunnel must exhibit a white light on the front visible from 500 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear (or reflective clothing) visible for 300 feet.
Wetherill Mesa Road (open early May to late October) - currently closed until further notice
The Wetherill Mesa Road has sharp curves and steep grades on the twelve-mile stretch from Far View (near mile marker 15) to Wetherill Mesa. Vehicles on this road are restricted to less than 8,000 pounds and 25-feet in length.
Bicycling in the Park
Bicycles may be ridden on established public roads (except Wetherill Mesa Road) and parking areas. Please read the following safety tips and regulations to help you have a safe and enjoyable visit.
- Due to the steep nature of the park road, lack of shoulders and poor condition of the pavement, organized bicycle groups are prohibited.
- Bicycles are not allowed on trails in most of the park. However, there are some trails on Wetherill Mesa open to bicycles. (Please see Wetherill Mesa below for details.)
- Bicycle riders must comply with all traffic regulations, ride in single file, and as far to the right side of the road as possible.
- Each bicycle must exhibit a white light on the front visible from 500 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear visible for 300 feet during periods of low visibility and in the tunnel (between milesposts 4 and 5).
- Bicycle riders may not be attached to or towed by a motor vehicle.
- No bicycle shall be used to carry more people at one time than it was designed and equipped to handle.
- Wetherill Mesa: Please note that bicycles are not allowed on the Wetherill Mesa Road. Once out on Wetherill Mesa, the 5-mile Long House Loop is open for bicycles. Some additional trails on Wetherill Mesa are open for bicycles, while others are for pedestrians only. Please check signs at trailheads before taking your bicycle on any trail. Bicycles are only permitted on trails marked open to bicycles.
- E-bikes are allowed in the park where traditional bicycles are allowed. (E-bikes are a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts/1 h.p.) E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.