I usually do enough research on a place before we go that I have a pretty good understanding of what we are in for.  This was not the case with Mesa Verde.  This is an enormous park, with more ruins than you can actually see in a day, fantastic views in all directions, and a lot of history to soak in.  We were in the park from about 8am-6pm and definitely had to prioritize and skip some things.  You could easily fill two days here.

The most important piece of information we missed when planning our trip

  • The distance from the Visitor's Center, where you buy your tour tickets, to Balcony House/Cliff Palace or to Long House is about an hour in traffic.
    • There are really two major sections of this park, on two different Mesas.  Let's say you buy a ticket for Balcony House and Long House.  The drive from the Visitor's Center to Balcony is 1 hour and the drive from Balcony to Long House is another hour on top of that.  Realistically, you have to choose between Balcony/Cliff Palace or Long House.
    • Tickets are $4 each and you can start buying them at 7:30am with the first tours leaving at 9:30am.

Balcony House

(Above) The view of Balcony House from across the canyon...

Different sections of the houses were connected by small passageways/doorways.  Below is us moving to the other side of the house through the passage pointed out above.

Going in.....

Coming out....

Spruce Tree House

Fire Temple

Square Tower


Cliff Palace

Park Point Overlook

Knife Edge Trail