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

BY 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. A possibility of snow in October. 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:

Bird Enthusiasts Head to Cortez for Avian Festival (4/19/2019) - Hundreds of birding fans are expected in Montezuma County to explore the region’s diverse bird populationsas part of the 15th annual Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival.
Durango Regional Job Fair (3/1/2019) - Four Corners Expo – Durango Regional Job Fair March 2019 Show Times 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 15, 2019 Vendors from March 2018 Aflac American General Media Aramark Mesa Verde Durango Transfer Ballantine Communications/ The Durango Herald Bar-D Chuckwagon Bloomfield Schools Blue Lake Ranch & Ridgewood Event Center City Market Colorado Dept. […]
Mesa Verde Receives Significant Art Collection (2/14/2019) - More than a hundred pieces of artwork, many of which the public has never seen, have been donated to the Mesa Verde Museum by the Rockefeller Family. Many of the pieces were collected in the region.
Nordic Ski Options in the Durango Area (1/27/2019) - With recent snow fall and colder temperatures, it’s the time of year many locals enjoy outdoor snow sports. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snow skating are all popular activities. We live in the perfect area to take advantage of these sports, with many locations in our own backyard. Vallecito Nordic Ski Club grooms trails throughout […]
Mesa Verde’s Holiday Open House (12/7/2018) - Music, storytelling and refreshments at the museum. Luminarias will glow along the pathways. Thursday December 13th. Free entry after 4PM. Event information, including dates and times, is subject to change. Please contact the Mesa Verde directly for the most up-to-date information. Event information courtesy of
6 must-see autumn attractions in Durango (9/17/2018) - There’s no better place to experience the beauty and wonder of fall than in Durango, Colorado. From art festivals and historic monuments to cowboy poetry, there are a multitude of things to do in or near Durango that are sure to fulfill your fall bucket list. Soak in the colors on the San Juan Skyway […]
Durango Activities in and Around Durango—Not Impacted by the Fire! (6/14/2018) - At The Durango Team, we write a weekly lifestyle blog that highlights features, events, and activities in and around Durango. With the 416 Fire impacting our local area, we want to address the concern that Durango is not open for business or tourism, or there is not anything to do if you come visit. In […]
Mesa Verde Tour Tickets Now Available in Durango (4/27/2018) - No more long, frustrating waits for ranger-led tour tickets at Mesa Verde National Park. The museum association has opened a kiosk
Driving Tour of Mesa Verde Country (1/24/2017) - Although hundreds of thousands travel to Mesa Verde National Park each year, few stay longer to explore Montezuma County’s other monuments, museums and cultural heritage sites. The Mesa Verde Country Visitors Center hopes to entice travelers to explore the region further with a new series of podcasts that will introduce archaeological sites in Montezuma County.
Community Concert Hall welcomes indigenous contemporary dance collective Sept. 9, 2016 (8/9/2016) - Dancing Earth returns to Durango with “seeds: REdGENERATION” Durango, CO – The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College welcomes the return of the nation’s premier indigenous contemporary dance collective Dancing Earth, performing its new, original work “seeds: REdGENERATION” at the hall on Friday, Sept. 9,  2016, 7:30 p.m. The performance supports the Imagine Your […]
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