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

Main Park Road: Open 24 hours, except under emergency conditions
Visitor Center and Mesa Verde Association Bookstore: Open 8:30 am-4 pm
Spruce Tree House Overlook: Open 24 hours
Cliff Palace Loop Road: Gate
will remain closed for the season, but visitors may cross-country ski or snowshoe on the road from 8 am-sunset, when conditions allow.
Mesa Top Loop Road:
Open 8am-sunset. May be snowy or icy in spots.
Park Point: Gate will remain closed during snowy conditions, but visitors may hike or snowshoe in.
Far View Sites: Gate
will remain closed during snowy conditions, but visitors may hike or snowshoe in from 8 am-sunset.
Cedar Tree Tower: Gate
will remain closed during snowy conditions, but visitors may hike or snowshoe in from 8 am-sunset.
Far View Terrace: Open daily for lunch service from 11 am-2 pm

Closed for the Season

  • Cliff Dwelling Tours
  • Wetherill Mesa
  • Chapin Mesa Museum
  • Far View Lodge and Morefield Campground

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.

There is no overnight camping or lodging in the park during winter. Accommodations are available in nearby communities. Limited food service is available at the Far View Terrace. Check current hours of operation.

Reservations are not needed to enter the park.

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.

  • Walk the 0.75-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 am-sunset.


If you have a day:

  • 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:

  • Experience Mesa Verde's exceptionally dark night sky and celebrate the park's certification as the 100th International Dark Sky Park in 2021.

  • 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. The gate to Cedar Tree Tower will remain closed during snowy conditions. However, visitors are allowed to hike or snowshoe in to visit Cedar Tree Tower during normal open hours, 8 am-sunset.

  • Visit other cultural sites around the area, including Canyons of the Ancients, Hovenweep, Aztec, and Chimney Rock National Monuments.

Last updated: January 9, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330

Phone:

970-529-4465

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