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Mesa Verde National Park Operating Hours & Seasons

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Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mesa Verde National Park is open all year round. The facilities, however, are not.

Here’s what you can expect to find open or closed, depending on when you visit Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde National Park Facilities

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum 

  • January – early March – open 9am – 4.30pm
  • Early March – early April – open 9am – 5pm
  • Early April – mid October – open 8am – 6.30pm
  • Mid October – early November – open 8am – 5pm
  • Early November – late December – open 9am – 5pm
  • 30 & 31 December – open 9am – 4.30pm

NB – The museum is closed for federal holidays during the winter time.

This fantastic museum is around 20 miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park on Chapin Mesa.

Far View Visitor Center

  • Mid April – mid October – open 8am – 5pm
  • Mid October – mid April – Closed

The Far View Visitor Center is around 15 miles from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. Be sure to stop by if you want to visit Balcony House, Cliff House or Long House, ‘cos this is where you can purchase your tickets.  There’s also a bookstore and rest rooms, just in case you need ’em.

Mesa Verde National Park Tours

Bear in mind that guided tours to the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park are pretty strenuous affairs. Demand is high for these tours during the summer season so you might have to choose between the Balcony House tour and the Cliff Palace tour, but you can usually fit in a visit to Long House on the same day as either of the other tours.

Cliff Palace Guided Tour – this is pretty strenuous and not for the faint hearted. Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park. There are a series of five ladders to climb on a 100 ft vertical climb, with a walking distance of approximately 400 meters round trip. It takes around one hour to complete the ranger guided tour, starting from the Cliff Palace Overlook which is around a 20 minute drive from the visitor center.

  • Early January – early April – closed
  • Early April – end May – open 9am – 5pm
  • End May – early Sept – open 9am – 6pm
  • Early Sept – mid Oct – open 9am – 5pm
  • Mid Oct – early Nov – open 9am – 4pm
  • Early Nov – end Dec – closed

Balcony House Guided Tour – is another ranger guided tour which takes around an hour to complete, and again you’ve got to be prepared to climb some pretty steep ladders, 32ft in fact, plus crawl along a 12 foot tunnel, climb an open rock face and a couple more ladders at the sites exit. Starting from the parking area at Balcony House, it’s approximately a 25 minute drive from the visitor center.

  • Early January – late April – closed
  • Late April – early May – 9.30am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3.30pm
  • Early May – late Oct – 9am – 5pm
  • Late Oct – mid Nov – 9am – 4pm
  • Mid Nov – end Dec – closed

Spruce Tree House Guided Tour – is the cliff dwelling which has been the best preserved of all dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. Between early November and early in March you can visit Spruce Tree House for free, on a ranger lead guided tour, but once again there’s some climbing involved. Every tour (lasting around an hour) includes a winding path – 100 foot going up and 100 foot going back down again, around a half mile round trip. You can visit Spruce Tree House for the rest of the season yourself, on a self guided tour.  These tours start off at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.

Twilight Tours – Cliff Palace Twilight Tours are very popular during the summer time only. This 90 minute tour takes in the most popular cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park – Cliff Palace. The tour kicks off at 7pm every night from the end of May through to early in September, 20 people per tour only. You can only get these tickets from the Far View Visitor Center, and they’ll set you back $10 each.

Wetherill Mesa Long House Tour – this is definitely the most comprehensive tour available at Mesa Verde National Park, starting off with a tram ride to take you to the trail head (don’t worry, it brings you back again later). This tour takes around 90 minutes and involves quite a lot of ladder climbing. This tour sets off from the Wetherill Mesa information kiosk which is around 12 miles from the Mesa Verde National Park visitor center and is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend.


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