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Mesa Verde Area Map
View Mesa Verde Area Map

Mesa Verde Tours
Mesa Verde Tours
Metate Room Restaurant
Metate Room Restaurant
Ancient pottery
Ancient pottery
Ancient drawings
Ancient drawings
Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad
Ancient pottery and jewlery
Ancient pottery and jewlery
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwelling
Cliff dwelling
Arrowheads found at Mesa Verde
Arrowheads found at Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde Guided Tours
Mesa Verde Guided Tours
Family Picnic
Family Picnic
Far View Lodge
Far View Lodge
Front Lobby
Front Lobby
Kiva Room
Kiva Room
Camping
Camping
Scenic Views
Scenic Views
Hiking
Hiking
Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle Riders
Mesa Verde Tours
Mesa Verde Tours
Mesa Verde Tours
Mesa Verde Tours
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad
Mesa Verde Guided Tours
Mesa Verde Guided Tours
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Ladder in cliff dwelling
Ladder in cliff dwelling
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwellings
Cliff dwelling
Cliff dwelling
Couple Dining
Couple Dining
Scenic Views
Scenic Views
Family Picnic
Family Picnic
Scenic Views
Scenic Views
Scenic Views
Scenic Views
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Visit with Respect

Fall BOGO!
Stay one night at our regular rate, get your next night 50% OFF!
Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde, Colorado
Fall BOGO!
Stay two nights at our regular rate, get your next two nights FREE!
History with a Mystery
Stay at Far View Lodge from $130 Including a $50 Voucher!
Bed and Breakfast Package
Enjoy a one-night stay and breakfast for two!
Advance Purchase Rate
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Cities of Sandstone
Discover Mesa Verde National Park with an exciting package that invites you to experience the culture, activities and history!

Bringing History to the Present

Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 to preserve archaeological sites built by the Ancestral Puebloans. Currently Mesa Verde has over 4,700 archaeological sites with many more yet to be discovered. The mission of the archaeological program at Mesa Verde National Park is to conduct, encourage, and facilitate archaeological and ethnographic research focused on prehistoric and historic occupations in Mesa Verde. And to link research results to the regional histories of the northern San Juan and the greater Southwest.

Resource management staff’s focus is to enhance and share knowledge and facts of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, and to ensure that archaeological sites and dwellings are preserved for the benefit of future generations. This mission will be accomplished by maintaining a highly trained and diverse staff in support of site preservation and quality archaeological research that sustains current and future goals and objectives.

Mesa Top Sites

Badger House Community

The Badger House Community consists of several sites dating from about A.D. 650 to the late 1200s. There are four sites along a paved and gravel-walking trail: Modified Basketmaker Pithouse, Developmental Pueblo village, Badger House, and Two Raven House.

Allow approximately 45 minutes to complete the trail. A tram stop is available at trail’s end to take visitors back to the parking area. The tram will take visitors to the overlooks of Kodak House and Long House before returning to the main parking area.

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Cedar Tree Tower

Cedar Tree Tower is one of several tower sites that have been discovered on the mesa tops. Towers were primarily built during the Classic period (A.D. 1100 to 1300) at Mesa Verde and are usually associated with a kiva. The purpose of a tower-kiva complex is not known. Some speculate that towers had a ceremonial purpose based on their close association with kivas. Other people propose that the mesa top towers were part of a communication system.

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Far View Sites Complex

Far View was one of the most densely populated parts of the mesa from A.D. 900 to about A.D. 1300. Nearly 50 villages have been identified within a half square mile area, and were home to hundreds of people. Today, several excavated and stabilized sites are linked by a trail system within a short walking distance. These surface sites include Far View House, Pipe Shrine House, Coyote Village, Far View Reservoir, Megalithic House, and Far View Tower.

Ancestral Puebloans were living at Far View at least 200 years before they began building the more famous Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. Excavation also reveals that many Ancestral Puebloans chose to remain in their mesa top community well after many of their neighbors moved into the cliff alcoves.

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Sun Temple

According to modern Pueblo Indians, Sun Temple's features classify it as a ceremonial structure. Because neither household goods nor roof beams were found by archaeologists at Sun Temple, some believe the symmetrically planned "D" shaped building was never completed. Yet its size alone points to the amount of labor that went into its construction. The stones in the fine masonry walls were shaped and given a "dimpled" flat surface by the builders of the structure. Based upon the amount of fallen stone removed during excavation, the walls probably were between 11 and 14 feet high. The thick walls were double coursed and filled with a rubble core.

Today, modern concrete covers the top of the walls to prevent moisture from going into the rubble placed between the walls. There is an eroded stone basin with three small indentations at the southwest corner of Sun Temple, next to the wall. This feature may have served as a sundial to mark the change of seasons.

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Visit the National Park Service's Preservation of Mesa Verde's Archaeological Sites for more information.

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Mesa Verde National Park, P.O. Box 277, Mancos, CO 81328 | 800.449.2288
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