Mesa Verde National Park, CO

With almost 600 cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde NP is a great place to get a glimpse into the lives of pueblo people. We tried to hit all the must see spots even with only half a day left to spend in the park. We started early in the morning.

Early morning over Cortez

Early morning over Cortez

Must do:
– take a tour of the Balconies to explore the dwellings up close and personal (buy tickets at the visitor center or museum). As the guide put it, it’s the Indiana Jones of all tours. You climb a 30 ft ladder to reach the site, get on all your fours to go through a narrow tunnel and then go up the face of a cliff to exit.

Climbing up to the Balconies

Climbing up to the Balconies

Balconies dwelling

Balconies dwelling

Balconies - window through the wall

Balconies – window through the wall

– explore the dwellings in the Tree House area and go down a kiva (round structure underground). It’s a nice place to explore the dwellings without a tour. They have a kiva where you can go in and experience the life of the pueblo people.

Tree House dwellings

Tree House dwellings

inside a kiva

inside a kiva

– take a picture of the Cliff Castles from the viewpoint. It’s the biggest of all structures in the park. The tour provides a lot of narrative about the pueblo culture, but doesn’t really let you explore much. I would stick to the Balconies tour where you can get both.

Cliff Castles dwellings

Cliff Castles dwellings

Cliff Castles - the site with the most kiva's

Cliff Castles – the site with the most kiva’s

Uncovered kiva - underground ceremonial rooms

Uncovered kiva – underground ceremonial rooms

Cliff Castles

Cliff Castles

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