Mesa Verde National Park

We spent two days exploring Mesa Verde National Park which is a fascinating place to say the least!!  Our first day was mostly going on two tours that the park service offered.  Our first one was to Cliff Palace, which is one of the cliff dwellings in the park.  12.Cliff.Palace.Mesa.Verde.04.17.10 When you first see it, it seems so unreal that these could be built like this so many years ago!  Cliff Palace is the largest of the cliff dwellings.  The round impressions are called Kiva’s.  Kiva is a Hopi word for ceremonial room.


The view when you came out of Cliff Palace was incredible as well!



After Cliff Palace, we went on to our next tour which was at Balcony House.  This is the most adventurous of the cliff dwelling tours that they offer. 




We had to climb a 32-foot ladder to to start with.






Then you walk through this tunnel …..







and then up this short little ladder.


And then you finally arrive to the first part of the dwelling.  This “balcony” on the side of this building is the reason it is called Balcony House. This is a much smaller dwelling compared to Cliff Palace, but is also very cool to see!!  53.Balcony.House.04.17.10 








The way that these places are just sitting inside an alcove in the side of a cliff is amazing!!




So, now to leave Balcony House, you have to climb through this tunnel, which you pretty much have to do on hands on knees.  It is 12-feet long by 18-inches




Here’s Sal coming through the other side. 




Then a 60 foot climb up the open cliff face using two of these 10-foot ladders and a series of stone steps with chains to hold onto as you climb. 





Here’s Balcony House from a different vantage point so you can see the whole thing in the cliff. 



After Balcony House, we visited Soda Canyon.  Beautiful! 



The next day we returned to see more of the stuff you can see on your own instead of on tours.  I won’t bore you with all the pictures.  But I do have to include a few from our hike to see the Petroglyphs in the park.  It was only about a mile and a half to get out to them, but at the end, we had to climb down and down and DOWN to get to them.   143.Trail.up.from.Petroglyphs.04.18.10

Here’s a view looking back up.  As you can see, there are some steps and then where you can’t easily see steps, you just kind of have to crawl up (or down) from one level to the other.  It was pretty fun!!






The petroglyphs themselves were pretty cool too!!!

We’ll have more adventures to tell you about next time!  Happy trails!!!


  1. We visited Mesa Verde two years ago but didn't climb the ladders like you two did. It is a special place, for sure.


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