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Mesa Verde National Park

View prehistoric ruins standing untouched beneath the cliff edges. The soft, flowing sandstone canyons here are a beautiful sight.

Marvel at perfectly preserved remains of Ancestral Pueblo communes that date back thousands of years. Clamber up wooden ladders and through tunnels to reach superb vantage points for gazing across Mesa Verde National Park.

Hidden among the vast sandy plains of southwestern Colorado, this majestic location features one of the oldest examples of early human life in North America. Ancestral Puebloans lived here between A.D. 600 and 1300 before leaving behind approximately 5,000 sites including 600 cliff dwellings. 

Set off with your guide on a 1-hour tour departing from the park’s visitor center. Start at the Chapin Mesa area of the park where you will find the highest concentration of sites, including Cliff Palace. Climb the five ladders to access this astonishing network of buildings dug into the canyon. The 150 rooms built from sandstone and wood beams once provided shelter for close to 100 people. 

Back at ground level continue east along the path toward Balcony House. Getting here means climbing numerous ladders and staircases. As the name suggests, this settlement provides splendid views, particularly toward Soda Canyon’s jagged path through the sandstone. This dwelling is smaller, consisting of 40 rooms and several small plazas. 

Access nearby Spruce Tree Hill more easily. Constructed during the 13th century, this dwelling was discovered in 1888 by local ranchers while searching for stray cattle. It is set into a natural alcove just above ground and features ceremonial chambers as well as small homes. 

Before you leave, investigate the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Study a selection of detailed dioramas to understand what life was like for the Ancestral Puebloans and see rare artifacts including tools used to hunt and eat. To learn more, attend an evening ranger talk at Morefield Amphitheater.

The entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Durango. The park is open year-round and there is a small admission fee.  

U.S. national parks offer affordable adventure for all types of travelers and frequently provide fascinating history lessons. Enjoy your trip to Mesa Verde National Park as you learn about your predecessors in North America.


Guide to Exploring Mesa Verde National Park


Top Hotel Deals

See all 27 Hotels in Mesa Verde National Park
$146
Far View Lodge

Far View Lodge

Mile Marker 15, inside, Mesa Verde National Park
3.6
of 5, from 307 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Mesa Verde National Park, this resort is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Wetherill Mesa and within 6 mi (10 km) of Park Point and Farming Terrace Trail. Spruce Tree House and Petroglyph Point Trail are also within 6 mi (10 km).

$52
Days Inn Cortez

Days Inn Cortez

430 N State Hwy 145, Cortez
3.2
of 5, from 307 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Cortez, this motel is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 2 mi (3.2 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$95
Baymont Inn and Suites Cortez

Baymont Inn and Suites Cortez

2279 Hawkins, Cortez
3.8
of 5, from 366 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Cortez, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$59
Super 8 Cortez/Mesa Verde Area

Super 8 Cortez/Mesa Verde Area

505 E Main St, Cortez
3.4
of 5, from 159 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Cortez, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$60
Econo Lodge

Econo Lodge

2020 E Main St, Cortez
3.4
of 5, from 120 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Cortez, this motel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$127
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez

Hampton Inn Mesa Verde/Cortez

2244 E Hawkins St, Cortez
4.7
of 5, from 80 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Cortez, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$120
Holiday Inn Express Mesa Verde-Cortez

Holiday Inn Express Mesa Verde-Cortez

2121 E Main St, Cortez
4.3
of 5, from 39 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Cortez, this hotel is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 1.6 mi (2.5 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$90
Retro Inn at Mesa Verde

Retro Inn at Mesa Verde

2040 East Main Street, Cortez
4.3
of 5, from 48 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Cortez, this motel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Cortez Cultural Center. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Guy Drew Winery are also within 9 mi (15 km).

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