Mesa Verde National Park preserves the cliff dwellings of the ancestral Puebloan people known as the Anasazi. The park spreads over more than 52,000 acres in the Montezuma County in southern Colorado in the US.
Mesa Verde in Spanish means “green table” in English. The cliff dwellings constitute some of the best preserved archeological sites in the country. The Anasazi lived in the Mesa Verde region between 200 AD and 1300 AD. Over 600 of these dwellings are recorded in the national park including the famous Balcony House, Square Tower House, and Cliff House. In all, the national park protects over 5,000 archeological sites and others are continually being discovered. The south-west Colorado plateau on which the Mesa Verde National Park is located, features elevations of about 6,000 to 8,500 feet.
The Mesa Verde villages were initially discovered in 1874. The rock-cut dwellings were soon despoiled by collectors and treasure hunters. By 1889, much of the artifacts in the region were sold in a large pottery sale conducted by the collectors. At about this time, archaeologists started to study and excavate the remains. By 1906, the site came under the protection of the Federal Antiquities Act and has been well-preserved ever since.
Hiking in the park is allowed only on a few trails:
- Prater Ridge Trail: It starts at the west end of Morefield Campground, moves up Prater Ridge and returns through the same route.
- Knife-Edge Trail: It is a 2-mile trail that offers scenic views of Montezuma Valley.
- Point Lookout Trail: You may pick this trail for excellent views of the Montezuma and Mancos valleys.
Other trailheads include Chapin Mesa Trailheads and Wetherill Mesa Trailheads that offer several exotic trails.
Mesa Verde National Park Map
Video Tour of Mesa Verde National Park, US
Facts about Mesa Verde National Park
- The Mesa Verde National Park was founded on June 29, 1906.
- It was designated a National Historic Place on October 15, 1966.
- It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
- The credit of the construction of this park goes to President Theodore Roosevelt.
Where is Mesa Verde National Park?
The Mesa Verde National Park is in Southwestern Colorado. The Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center is located near the entrance of the park, just off Highway 160. The park can be reached within a half-an-hour drive from the Cortez Municipal Airport.
Best time to visit Mesa Verde National Park
If you wish to indulge in some of the adventurous activities, then winter is the perfect time to visit the Mesa Verde National park as it opens opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing snow-covered trails.
Mesa Verde National Park Address
PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park CO, 81330
Mesa Verde National Park Hours
The visitor center opens at the following timings:
- January 2 to April 8: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- April 9 to May 25: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- May 26 to September 4: 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- September 5 to September 30: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- October 1 to October 28: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- October 29 to December 31: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
The Visitor Center and the museum are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Morefield Ranger Station is open between June and August.
Mesa Verde National Park Tickets
Entry fees for Private Vehicle
|Nov 1 – Dec 31, 2016||$10|
|Jan 2 – April 30, 2017||$15|
|May 1 – Oct 31, 2017||$20|
|Nov 1 – Dec 31, 2017||$15|
Know more fees at: https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/fees.htm
More about Mesa Verde National Park
Nearby Attractions: Anasazi Heritage Center, Yucca House National Center, Mancos State Park, Sun Temple, Pueblo Village, and Crow Canyon Archeological Center.
Published On: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014