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Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

star-5
61 Reviews
Highway 160, Cortez, 81321

The Basics

Start at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center to get oriented with the national park and purchase (optional) admission to the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House cliff dwellings, which can be accessed only on popular ranger-guided tours. Or check out the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and drive along Mesa Top Loop Road, a 6-mile (10-kilometer) route that’s home to easily accessible surface dwellings and cliff dwelling overlooks.

The closest city to the park is Cortez, Colorado, but the historical railroad town of Durango is the more visitor-friendly base from where most day tours to the park depart. Book a tour if you want the ease of round-trip transportation; otherwise go on your own to explore at your own pace.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Colorado

star-5
A great Colorado Treasure
Annie_H, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
A small group with a guide was a good choice. We learned a lot and our guide adjusted the trip to the group.
star-5
Informative and Complete.
John_T, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
Rowan was most knowledgeable and agreeable. He took us to more places than we could have done in a full day. This a great way to do Mesa Verde.
star-5
Memorable tour
MarthaD_P, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde Express Tour
We loved Rohan—informative, good humored, articulate, kind. A great tour! Mesa Verde’s Cliff Dwellings were fascinating.
star-5
Great information
Ron_L, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde Express Tour
Great tour guide with incredible information . Wonderful views and good driving by our tour guide . The tour was a great idea.
star-5
Glad we booked
Sandra_H, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
We are so glad we booked this tour. Out guide, Chris, is so knowledgeable about the Mancos area and the Ancestral Puebloan culture, and he was the best part of the tour. The coach was quite comfortable and easy to enter and exit. All six of us say Kudos to your company.
star-5
Great experience
Deborah_B, Jul 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
Looking at the homes they lived in and the presentation that our guide put into the telling of the information.
star-5
Amazing tour
Robert_S, Jun 2021
Mesa Verde Express Tour
Amazing trip our guide was informative and friendly. A must if you're going to get the information you need to know what you're looking at.
star-5
The Genius of a Past Civilization.
Kevin_W, Jun 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
Greg was very good. Very knowledgeable. Being from this area gave him great insight. He was accommodating, took time to answer questions and added humor. He challenged the group by asking us to imagine what it must have been like to live like these people did. Great tour and Greg get's an A.
star-5
Amazing place + amazing guide = wonderful tour
Tricia_B, Jun 2021
Mesa Verde Express Tour
Mesa Verde came alive through Aaron’s presentation. Amazing lives and culture and a wonderful representation of early man’s ingenuity.
star-5
Great guide, fascinating history and a beautiful national park.
Michael_S, Jun 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
We had a thoroughly enjoyable visit with Aaron. His knowledge of the area, and his friendly interactions with the group made it a great trip!
star-5
Great tour of Mesa Verde
Janean_F, May 2021
Mesa Verde Express Tour
We loved the trip. Our guide was very knowledgeable on the park and surroundings. It was a great way to see the park in a short period of time.
star-5
Aaron was the PERFECT guide!
Vickie-G, Jun 2021
Mesa Verde National Park Half Day Tour
I couldn’t be more delighted with our guide!!! Aaron was a fantastic guide! His knowledge that he shared with us was like talking a college class. All our questions asked he knew the answers to. Previous trips to Mesa Verde I had never done a guided tour. I thought I was quite knowledgeable about Mesa Verde. With Aaron I learned so very much more!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Mesa Verde National Park is ideal for lovers of archaeology, history, and nature.

  • There is no bus or shuttle in the park so you will need a vehicle or bike to get around. Bikes are permitted on paved roads but not on most of the trails.

  • Give yourself at least two hours just to drive in and out of the park, as the route is a narrow and steep mountain road, and weather and sporadic road work can cause delays.

  • The park ranges in elevation from 6,900 to 8,572 feet (2,100 to 2,612 meters), so stay hydrated to help ward off altitude sickness.

  • Free WiFi is available in the visitor center lobby and parking area.

  • Mesa Verde National Park’s visitor center and most park attractions are accessible to wheelchairs, though some may require assistance due to gravel paths and grades.

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How to Get There

The turnoff from Highway 160 to Mesa Verde National Park is about a 45-minute drive from Durango, between the towns of Cortez and Mancos. From there it’s a 21-mile (34 kilometer) drive to the first view of a cliff dwelling along a winding road.

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When to Get There

The park is open daily year-round, but winter weather may cause some closures. While it’s typically mild in the winter, snowstorms are possible from October through May. It’s warm to hot from June to September, when temperatures can exceed 90°F (32°C) during the day with cool evenings. In July and August, be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms.

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Four Corners

About an hour’s drive southwest of Mesa Verde lies the Four Corners Monument, where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. Managed by the Navajo Nation, the remote site features a marker where you can stand in four states at once.

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