Mesa Verde National Park – Visitor’s Information

Cliff Dwellings and Renowned Archeological Site Near Durango

Mesa Verde information

Mesa Verde, Spanish for “green table”, offers an unparalleled opportunity to see and experience a unique cultural and physical landscape. The culture represented at Mesa Verde reflects more than 700 years of history. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area, eventually building elaborate stone villages in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Today most people call these sheltered villages “cliff dwellings”. The cliff dwellings represent the last 75 to 100 years of occupation at Mesa Verde. In the late 1200s within the span of one or two generations, they left their homes and moved away.

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The archeological sites found in Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Scientists study the ancient dwellings of Mesa Verde, in part, by making comparisons between the Ancestral Puebloan people and their contemporary indigenous descendants who still live in the Southwest today. Twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde.

To fully enjoy Mesa Verde National Park, plan to spend a day or two exploring its world-class archeological sites as well as its beautiful landscape. The entrance to the park is 9 miles east of Cortez and 35 miles west of Durango in Southwestern Colorado on US Highway 160.

Operating Hours, Seasons
Open daily, year-round.
Chapin Mesa Museum is open from 8AM to 6:30AM mid-April to mid-October; 8AM to 5PM the rest of the year.
Far View Visitor Center is open from 8AM to 5PM mid-April to mid-October.
Ranger-guided tours and self-guided tours are available in Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Limited services are available in Winter.

Getting There – Learn more about Transportation options to and from Durango.

Plane – The nearest airports are Cortez, Colorado, Durango, Colorado, and Farmington, New Mexico.

Car – Mesa Verde National Park is in Southwestern Colorado. The Mesa Verde Headquarters is a one-hour drive from Cortez, Colorado, heading east on Highway 160 to the park turnoff, and a 1.5 hour drive from Durango, Colorado, heading west on Highway 160 to the park turnoff.

Weather & Climate
Spring–variable, 30s and snow or 70s and sunny.
Summer– temperatures can reach the 90s. Afternoon thunderstorms in July and August.
Fall–still warm during the day, cool nights.
October–A possibility of snow.
Winter–below freezing at night. As much as 3 to 4 feet of snow. Snowpacked and icy conditions.
Learn more about the Durango Weather and Climate.

Mesa Verde has limitations in access for people with vision, hearing, or mobility impairments. Persons with heart or respiratory ailments may have breathing problems in the thin air at park altitudes of up to 8,500 feet. Click here to learn more about Altitude Sickness and ways to avoid it.

Getting Around
A vehicle is needed to see Mesa Verde.

Mesa Verde Articles:

Rare Access to Unexcavated Ancient Pueblo Indian settlement (9/20/2022) -
Fifteen lucky visitors recently toured what’s mostly unexcavated at Aztec Ruins National Monument. Aztec Ruins East normally is off limits because of its fragile archaeological resources. The great kiva is 16 feet high, and has nearly 300 rooms. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Three Rivers Brewing
AUTUMN ARTS FESTIVAL (9/15/2022) - SEPTEMBER 17 – 18, 2022 10 AM – 5 PM LOCATION Durango Arts Center 802 E 2nd Ave Durango, CO 81301 ABOUT THE FESTIVAL: Celebrating 28 years of presenting fine art and fine craft by makers from around the country, this juried festival takes place amidst the fall colors on quaint Second Avenue in historic downtown Durango, […]
Mesa Verde Country Hopes to Ramp Up Visitors to Byway (6/25/2022) -
Mesa Verde Country hopes to manage and market the Trails of the Ancients Byway so that visitors to Southwest Colorado will find a reason to extend their stays by one or two more days. This story is sponsored by StoneAge Tools and Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado
The Loop (6/24/2022) - Durango is a hub for many activities including a day trip along the San Juan Scenic Byway. Coined “The Loop”, you can connect four noteworthy stops starting and ending in Durango. The Loop takes five hours by car and you have time to stop at viewpoints, lunch, stroll main streets, and still make it back […]
Fire Restrictions Increase in Region, COVID Cases on the Rise (6/23/2022) -
Persistent drought has caused severe fire weather conditions, so area agencies have moved to Stage 2 fire restrictions. That means no fires whatsoever. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Ute Mountain Casino
Casa Blanca Inn Features Nine Individually Decorated Suites (5/11/2022) -
Farmington’s most charming B & B, Casa Blanca Inn and Suites, is a Spanish Colonial hacienda built in the 1950s. Minutes from downtown Main Street, it’s surrounded by gardens, court yards and sparkling water fountains. Each of the nine suites are unique and luxurious with kitchens, king beds and jet tubs. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by ServiceMaster Restore and Boons Family Thai Barbecue
Fall in Durango DURANGO FALL PLANNING GUIDE (10/15/2021) - Activities And Fall Things To Do In Durango (September, October + November) Plan for your upcoming visit this fall with our fall planning guide. Fall is the optimum time to book a vacation package to Durango, Colorado. Travel+Leisure Magazine includes Durango, Colorado in their article about driving along the Continental Divide. Sherman’s Travel named Durango number 4 on their […]
AUTUMN ARTS FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 18 -19 (9/16/2021) -   With concern for the safety of our Durango Autumn Arts Festival attendees, the following adjustments have been made to the event: To avoid clustered gatherings, there will be no indoor live entertainment, food court, or artist dinner. Patrons are encouraged to enjoy food from downtown restaurants. Social distancing measures will be maintained outside, and […]
Durango rafting Durango Rafting & Adventures (7/28/2021) -   Mountain Waters Rafting: Durango’s Rafting & Adventure Center We believe that white water rafting is the funnest thing you can do while visiting the Durango, Colorado area. The joy of floating down a stretch of family friendly river or being challenged by Class 4 & 5 whitewater has created an insatiable passion in us that we want […]
Balloon in North Animas ValleyValley DURANGO IS A MUST VISIT COLORADO CITY (1/10/2021) - Visit Durango Updated: December 30, 2020 Durango is known for many things — massive mountains, unbeatable skiing and a historic narrow gauge railroad to name a few. But there’s so much more to this former mining town. THINGS TO DO HOTELS & LODGING FESTIVALS & EVENTS TRIP IDEAS REGIONS & CITIES SPECIAL OFFERS LANGUAGES OFFICIAL VISITOR […]


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