Winter at Mesa Verde

 
A view down a snow-covered canyon, with an ancestral site tucked in an alcove below a sandstone park building
Snowy Spruce Tree Canyon

NPS/Spencer Burke

Winter is a quiet and beautiful time to visit Mesa Verde National Park. While many parts of the park close during the winter off-season, winter visitors will encounter a uniquely beautiful side of Mesa Verde and opportunities for winter recreation, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.

Watch the weather forecast and check for closures on Mesa Verde's Facebook page. Winter conditions can make the park road treacherous.

What's Open? What's Closed?


Open:
Visitor & Research Center and bookstore (Thursday-Sunday 9 am-3 pm, closed for lunch 1-1:30 pm)
Main Park Road
Mesa Top Loop Road
Spruce Tree House Overlook
Far View Terrace (open for lunch service daily 11 am-2 pm)

Closed:
Cliff Dwelling Tours
Chapin Mesa Museum
Lodge and campground
Cliff Palace Loop Road
Wetherill Mesa

All activities depend on road, trail, and weather conditions. Please check with the ranger at the entrance gate for current conditions. We recommend good hiking boots or snow boots, warm layered clothing, a hat, gloves, snacks, sunglasses, and water.

Reservations are not needed to enter the park. There is no overnight camping or lodging in the park. Accommodations are available in nearby communities. Limited food service is available at the Far View Terrace. Check current hours of operation.

Plan Your Visit

Use the following suggestions to help plan your visit, 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. Check current hours of operation.

  • 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.

  • 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 day:

  • 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. The gate to Far View will remain closed during snowy conditions. However, visitors are allowed to hike or snowshoe in to visit the Far View Sites during normal open hours, 8:00 am to sunset.

  • 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. The gate to Park Point will remain closed during snowy conditions. However, visitors are allowed to hike or snowshoe in to visit Park Point.

  • Hike the upper Petroglyph Point Trail through old-growth pinyon-juniper woodlands. This out-and-back nature hike is 2.4 miles (3.9 km) roundtrip. The lower trail, including the petroglyph panel, is closed for winter. Park trails sometimes close during snowy conditions. Please check with a ranger for current closures.

  • Snowshoe or cross-country ski in the park. Check current conditions. Ask at the Visitor Center or Entrance Station about borrowing snowshoes Thursday - Sunday. Please check with a ranger for the most up-to-date information.


If you have more than a day:

  • Explore more of Mesa Verde's nearly 30 miles of hiking trails. Depending on snow conditions, hiking trails may be closed, or open for snowshoe and cross-country ski use only. Check with a ranger for current conditions and closures.

  • Visit Cedar Tree Tower and the .5-mile (0.8 km) Farming Terrace Trail to see how Ancestral Pueblo people farmed on the mesa.

Last updated: January 19, 2022

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330

Phone:

970-529-4465

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