Guided Tours

Modified Opening Dates Due to Novel (New) Coronavirus (COVID-19)

All cliff dwellings are closed and tours are canceled until further notice. We will continue to reevaluate this as conditions change. Mesa Verde and its park partners have modified operations to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. Given the uncertainty of our ability to provide tours in a manner consistent with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines safeguarding the health and safety of visitors and staff, all cliff dwelling tours are canceled until further notice. We will continue to reevaluate this as conditions change. If conditions improve, we will consider offering a reduced number of tours and will re-advertise availability in the future, with instructions on how to make new tour ticket reservations. Our ultimate goal is to provide a safe and quality visitor experience with the resources and staff available.

Refunds for ranger-guided tours will take place automatically, but those who had reservations should confirm this by checking
recreation.gov.

 

Balcony House, Cliff Palace, and Long House cliff dwellings can only be visited by taking a ranger-guided tour. The park also offers visitors more in-depth backcountry hikes and special tours. Scroll though the following descriptions to see what tours are available and which provide the best fit for you and your group. To learn more about purchasing tickets for the tours, see Purchasing Tour Tickets or go to recreation.gov.

 
 

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Daily Ranger-Guided, Cliff Dwelling Tours

 

There are no height or age restrictions for these three tours, but children must be capable of walking the extent of the trails, climbing ladders, and negotiating steps independently. All infants must be carried in backpacks while on tours and adults carrying children in backpacks must be able to maintain mobility and balance.

 
Visitors climbing a tall wooden ladder into a ancient stone-masonry village
Balcony House

Balcony House (Adventurous Cliff Dwelling Tour)
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing a 32-foot (9.8m) ladder, crawling through a 12-foot (3.7m) long tunnel, and climbing up a 60-foot (20m) open rock face with two 17-foot (5m) ladders to exit the site. The tour begins at the Balcony House parking area, a 25-mile (40.2km), 1-1/4 hour drive from the Visitor Center. Please check here for current schedule.

•Price: $7.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
•You must pick up your hard-copy ticket before your tour. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets to find out where.

 
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Looking down at a group of visitors in an ancient, stone-masonry village.
Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace (Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling)
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing four, 8-10 foot (2.6-3m) ladders, on a 100 foot (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip. The tour begins at Cliff Palace Overlook, an 23-mile (37km), one-hour drive from the Visitor and Research Center. Please check here for current schedule.

•Price: $7.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
•You must pick up your hard-copy ticket before your tour. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets to find out where.

 
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Visitors with ranger with ancient stone-masonry village in the background.
Long House

Long House (Mesa Verde's Most In-Depth Tour)
Starting at the Wetherill Mesa information kiosk, this two-hour ranger-guided tour involves hiking at least 2.25 miles (3.6km) round-trip, and climbing two 15-foot (4.5m) ladders within the site. The hike has an elevation gain of about 130 feet (40m). The tour ends at the Long House trailhead, giving you the choice of returning to the kiosk or exploring more of Wetherill Mesa on your own. Allow about 2.5 hours (total) for tour and return to kiosk. Please check here for current schedule.

•Price: $7.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
•You must pick up your hard-copy ticket before your tour. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets to find out where.



Note: The Wetherill Mesa information kiosk is a 12-mile (19km) drive along the Wetherill Mesa Road (begins near mile marker 15). Allow 1-1/4 hours to drive to the kiosk from the Visitor and Research Center. Vehicles over 25-feet (8m) long are prohibited on this road.

 
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Backcountry Hikes and Special Tours for 2020

 
Image of Balcony House at sunrise and one image of 32-foot entrance ladder.
Balcony House Sunrise Tour

For centuries, Pueblo farmers have been observing the sky and the change of seasons. Take the Sunrise Tour of Balcony House at summer solstice or fall equinox and join in the long tradition of skywatching in Mesa Verde..

On this 90-minute 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 stone steps and two 10-foot (3 m) ladders to exit.

Dress appropriately for early morning temperatures and bring a flashlight. Cameras are welcome, but you must be able to carry all of your gear while keeping your hands free to climb the ladders. Check here for the current schedule.

•Tour is limited to 25 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Two images. View of a stone masonry village and the other, visitors with a ranger in front of a stone village.
Cliff Palace Early Bird Tour

Looking for an early morning adventure? This daily, early bird tour of Cliff Palace offers the benefits of a smaller group size and cooler temperatures.

On this 60-minute tour, you will descend uneven stone steps and climb four ladders, with an elevation change of 100 feet (30m). Total walking distance is 1/4 mile (0.4 km). Please check here for current schedule.

•Tour is limited to 25 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Stone masonry tower in twilight
Cliff Palace Twilight Tour

Enjoy an intimate, leisurely encounter with Mesa Verde’s largest cliff dwelling. Dramatic sunset lighting will appeal to both amateur and professional photographers as well as those seeking a deeper connection with this extraordinary archeological treasure.

On this nightly, 90-minute tour, you will descend uneven stone steps and climb four ladders, with an elevation change of 100 feet (30m). Cameras are welcome, but you must be able to carry all of your gear while keeping your hands free to climb the ladders. Total walking distance is 1/4 mile (0.4 km). Please check here for current schedule.

•Tour is limited to 25 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Mug House and trail
Mug House

Named for three mugs tied together with yucca rope found hanging inside one of its rooms, Mug House was built over several decades in the 1100s and 1200s and likely supported a population of 80 to 100 people. On the way to Mug House, you will visit other Ancestral Puebloan sites and experience wonderful views of Rock Canyon.

This strenuous 2-hour, 3-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 feet (30 m) and includes steep drop-offs and switchbacks. This hike may not be appropriate for young children. Each hiker must be able to scramble over boulders and navigate steep gravel trails unassisted. Please check here for current schedule.

•Tour is limited to 10 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Two photos: One of ancient, stone-masonry rooms in an alcove, and the other of hikers on a trail.
Spring House

Spring House is the largest unexcavated cliff dwelling in the park with 86 rooms and seven kivas. It is extremely fragile so you will not enter the site, but get excellent views of it from a platform at the south end of the village. On the way, hikers will pass through a diverse landscape of both mesa tops and canyon bottoms, and be rewarded with views of other alcove sites. Spring House is undergoing stabilization work in 2020, so you may have an opportunity to see preservationists at work in the site.

This 8-hour, 8-mile (12.9 km) round-trip hike is very strenuous. Expect an unpaved, uneven trail with an elevation change of 1,500 feet, steep drop-offs, two ladders, some scrambling, and switchbacks. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots; bring your own lunch, snacks, and a minimum of one gallon (4 liters) of water per person. You will be expected to pack out everything, including all trash and human waste. Shade is very limited, so bring a hat and sunscreen. This hike may not be appropriate for young children. Each hiker must be able to walk the extent of the trail on their own without difficulty. Please check here for current schedule

•Tour is limited to 10 people
•Price: $45.00 per person, all ages
Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Two images of Square Tower House. One from above and one of the tower from within the dwelling.
Square Tower House

This short but strenuous hike leads to a stunning and surprisingly intimate cliff dwelling. Unusual aspects of this site include an original kiva roof and the Crow's Nest, features that cannot be seen from the viewpoint on the canyon rim.

This strenuous 2-hour, 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]). This hike may not be appropriate for young children. Each hiker must be able to scramble over boulders and navigate steep gravel trails unassisted. Please check here for current schedule.

•Tour is limited to 10 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Half-Day Guided Bus Tours

 

Mid-April to mid-October
Offered by Aramark (Park Concession)

Mesa Verde National Park concessioner, Aramark, conducts guided bus tours that offer an overall historical view of Ancestral Pueblo sites. Tickets for the 700 Years Bus Tour may be purchased at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center, Far View Lodge, or Morefield Campground. To learn more, or to make a an online reservation, visit the Aramark website.

Last updated: July 25, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330

Phone:

970-529-4465

Contact Us