Guided Tours

In 2021, the park is offering daily, ranger-assisted tours of Cliff Palace and Long House cliff dwellings as well as 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.

 

On This Page: Tours Available in 2021 Navigation

 
 
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Daily Ranger-Assisted, Cliff Dwelling Tours

 

In 2021, Cliff Palace and Long House will be open for ranger-assisted tours. This is slightly different from the more structured, guided-tour experience. A "ranger-assisted tour" is a timed-entry experience that allow visitors to move through a cliff dwelling in a socially distanced way. Rangers stationed along the route will provide brief interpretations of the site.

There are no height or age restrictions for these two 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.

 
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Cliff Palace (Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling)


Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in the park with 150 rooms and 23 kivas, and may have been home to about 25 families. This exceptionally large cliff dwelling likely had special significance to the original occupants and surrounding communities. Many believe it may have been used as a social or administrative center and gathering place for ceremonies.

This 30-minute, ranger-assisted tour involves climbing four, 8- to 10-foot (2.6 to 3m) ladders, on a 100 foot (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), roundtrip.

The tour begins at the Cliff Palace Overlook, a 23-mile (37km), one-hour drive from the Visitor and Research Center.

Price: $8.00 per person, all ages

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Tickets are available up to 14 days in advance. (Tickets are released daily, starting at 8:00 am Mountain Time.)

Please check www.recreation.gov or our Operating Hours & Seasons for the current schedule.

Important! Bring Your Receipt. 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. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets or recreation.gov for further details.


 
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Long House (Mesa Verde's Most In-Depth Tour)


Long House is the second largest cliff dwellling in the park, with about 150 rooms and 21 kivas. The dwelling includes a large dance plaza resembling ceremonial plazas used in modern Pueblo villages today. About 100 to 150 people may have lived in Long House during the mid-thirteenth century.

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

The tour begins and ends at the Long House trailhead which is a 20-minute, 0.75-mile (1.2km) hike from the Wetherill Mesa Kiosk.** Plan accordingly to reach the trailhead in time for your scheduled tour.

* Allow 1-1/2 to 2 hours for the entire Long House experience (the total time for the tour and the walk between the kiosk and the Long House trailhead).

** The Wetherill Mesa 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.

Price: $8.00 per person, all ages

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Tickets are available up to 14 days in advance. (Tickets are released daily, starting at 8:00 am Mountain Time.)

Please check www.recreation.gov or our Operating Hours & Seasons for the current schedule.

Important! Bring Your Receipt. 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. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets or recreation.gov for further details.

 
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Backcountry Hikes and Special Tours for 2021

 
Mug House and trail
Mug House Hike

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, 90-minute, 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.






Reservation Details

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. Tickets are available up to 14 days in advance. (Tickets are released daily, starting at 8:00 am Mountain Time.)

Please check www.recreation.gov or our Operating Hours & Seasons for the current schedule.

Important! Bring Your Receipt. 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. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets or recreation.gov for further details.

 
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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 Hike

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.

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



Reservation Details

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. Tickets are available up to 14 days in advance. (Tickets are released daily, starting at 8:00 am Mountain Time.)

Please check www.recreation.gov or our Operating Hours & Seasons for the current schedule.

Important! Bring Your Receipt. 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. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets or recreation.gov for further details.

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

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, 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]). 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.





Reservation Details

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. Tickets are available up to 14 days in advance. (Tickets are released daily, starting at 8:00 am Mountain Time.)

Please check www.recreation.gov or our Operating Hours & Seasons for the current schedule.

Important! Bring Your Receipt. 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. Visit Purchasing Tour Tickets or recreation.gov for further details.

 
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Other Guided Experiences

 

The Mesa Verde National Park concessioner, Aramark, offers addtional guided-tour experiences in the park. To learn more or to make an online reservation for these, visit the Aramark website.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330

Phone:

970-529-4465

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