Explore ancient cliff houses at Mesa VerdeColorado, USA
Step back in time as you wander the cliff palaces of Colorado’s Ancestral Pueblo tribes. Mesa Verde National Park is the only national park in the USA dedicated to preserving the works of mankind. The designated UNESCO Heritage Site is home to more than 5,000 archaeological spots, including 600 cliff dwellings that date back to between 600 and 1300 CE. The dwellings provide an insight into the lives and heritage of the Ancestral Puebloan people who lived in this region for more than 700 years, and are some of the most notable and best preserved in the USA.
Guided ranger tours offer a deeper understanding of how these people lived, as well as access to get up close to the renowned cliff palaces – Balcony House, Cliff Palace and Long House – as you traverse ladders and open rock faces. You can also head out on a self-guided tour to explore some of the cultural sites at your own leisure – 12 easily accessible dwellings and overlooks can be found by driving along the Mesa Top Loop Road, with Far View House being among five villages that can be explored along a 1.2-kilometre unpaved trail.
Hiking trails in the park range from two to 12.5 kilometres, with highlights being the Point Lookout Trail traversing the top of the mesa with views of Montezuma and Mancos valleys, or the Petroglyph Point Trail, where a rugged, rocky route leads to stunning canyon vistas and ancient carvings on a huge petroglyph panel.
- These are some of the most spectacularly preserved ancient dwellings and towns you’ll find anywhere
- Listen, some say this is one of the world’s greatest destinations and who are we to argue?
- Most of the cliff dwellings are only accessible on a tour with a ranger, but can be purchased in advance from this website