Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Touring a Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park

June 1, 2009, 10:32 am

    Mesa Verde offers many summer programs and this summer you have the opportunity to explore their cliff dwellings. There are five cliff dwellings; among them are Spruce Tree House and Step House. Both of these can be explored independently, but to visit some dwellings, like Balcony House and Cliff Palace, visitors must join a ranger-guided tour.

     These tours take, on average, an hour to an hour and a half. They also entail different levels of activity. The Long House requires that you climb three 15-foot ladders and has a 300-foot elevation gain. This tour is very similar to Cliff Palace, which has eight 10-foot ladders and a 100-foot elevation gain. Both Spruce Tree House and Step House have a decline of 100 feet. Balcony House, the most challenging tour of them all, involves 32-foot ladder to enter the dwelling and a tunnel to exit. The tunnel is followed by a 60-foot climb along the rock face. Whether you feel like climbing up or down, there is certainly a dwelling tour for you!