Balcony House may only be accessed by guided tour. Cliff dwelling tours are offered from April 1 to November 1st. Park rangers lead all tours, explaining the history of the Ancient Puebloan people and the cliff dwellings.
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing a 32 ft. ladder, crawling through a 12ft-long tunnel, and climbing up a 60ft open rock face with two 10ft ladders to exit the site. Not suitable for young children.
See website for current pricing.
Where to buy tickets: Colorado Welcome Center (I recommend here), Mesa Verde Visitor Research Center (right outside park), Morefield Ranger Station, and Chapin Mesa Archeological Center.
Tour Tip: Purchase tickets up to two days before tour day as tours tend to sell out in peak seasons. Bring sunscreen and water on your tour.
"Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States." National Park Service
There is a lot to do at this park including guided (see directory pages for Cliff House and Balcony House tours) and self-guided hikes to different cliff dwellings. A couple of hikes we did was to Far View Sites (flat on top of the plateau) and the Step House which is a steep trail down to the dwellings.
Other activities include: cross country skiing (in winter), evening programs, stargazing, photography, research center, museum, and Junior Ranger program!!!
Park open year round, however, operation hours change as well as availability of some features of the park.
Entrance fee high season: $15 and low season $10
Morefield Campground is just 4 miles inside Mesa Verde. There are 267 sites that include a table, bench, and grill. Camping is open to tents, trailers and RVs, including 15 full hookup RV sites that require reservations. Several hikes leave from the campground. Additionally, campground is close to Morefield's village. Here you will find a gas station, RV dumping station, coin-operated laundry, complimentary showers, a gift shop and grocery store.
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.