Visiting a Cliff Dwelling
Most cliff dwellings can be entered only on a ticketed tour with a ranger. The one cliff dwelling that can be visited without a tour is Step House, on Wetherill Mesa.
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.
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.
Ranger-Guided Backcountry 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.Mug House
9 am and 12 pm daily (May 2 to May 28)
9 am and 11 am daily (May 29 to October 23)
$25 per person
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.
Square Tower House
8:30 am daily
$25 per person
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.
8 am (May 23, May 30, September 5, and September 12)
$45 per person
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 to Spring House, hikers will pass through a diverse landscape of both mesa tops and canyon bottoms and be rewarded with views of other cliff dwellings.
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, one short ladder, and switchbacks.
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 recreation.gov for further details.
Last updated: June 26, 2021