Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park showcases the incredible beauty of the Four Corners region. Located just 10 minutes west of Mancos, Colorado, the park provides rich opportunities for sightseeing and education.  

Perched high above the desert below, the views from the park ridgeline are sweeping — encompassing everything from the La Plata Mountains in Colorado to the Blue Mountains in Utah.

With year-round activities, Mesa Verde National Park is truly a travel destination for the books. 

Things to Do in Mesa Verde National Park

Self-Guided Driving Tour

Guided Tour of Mesa Verde National Park by Durango Rivertrippers During Spring

There are plenty of sites in the park to visit from the comfort of your vehicle. Visitors can also download A Pueblo Perspective on Mesa Verde audio tour for an Indigenous take on the land and listen along on their drive. Please be mindful of the road while you journey through the park. 

Guided Cliff Dwelling Tours

Guided Tour of Mesa Verde National Park by Durango Rivertrippers During Spring

For a deep dive into history, park visitors are encouraged to buy tickets to the three guided cliff-dwelling tours. These small, intimate tours allow visitors to see the park’s lesser-known structures with help from experienced park rangers. All of these guided tours will require strenuous physical activity. 


Guided Tour of Mesa Verde National Park by Durango Rivertrippers During Spring

The more intrepid explorers can strike it on their own on the nearly 30 miles of park trails. There are 12 trails in the park for visitors to choose from, varying wildly in difficulty.

For an easy hike, consider the Farming Terrace Trail or the Soda Canyon Overlook Trail. If you’re looking for a challenge, look for the Spruce Canyon Trail or the Petroglyph Point Trail. 


Night Sky and Stars During Star Party at Mesa Verde National Park During Fall

Mesa Verde National Park has some of the darkest skies left in the continental United States. Certified as the 100th International Dark Sky Park, the park has prime spaces for astronomers and children alike to marvel at the night sky. Make your way to Morefield Campground or Far View Lodge for the best vantage point. 


Visitors looking to spend the night inside the park should find an ideal site and make a reservation for Morefield Campground. Morefield has 267 sites and various amenities for park visitors, like coin-operated laundry, grocery stores, a gas station, etc. For RV owners, there are 15 full-hookup RV sites. 

If you’re looking for a few hikes, many park trails leave directly from Morefield Campground. 

Bird Watching

There are many birds for visitors to spot in Mes Verde National Park. Avid birders can purchase a copy of the brochure “Checklist of the Birds,” which also gives detailed information on where to find the different species of birds scattered throughout the park. 

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Once enough snow has fallen in the winter, park officials will groom the designated winter trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Winter visitors will have a quiet backcountry experience with fresh powder and breathtaking views. 

On your trip, bring adequate gear, food, and water. Also, be sure to sign the trail registers so park rangers know where to locate you in emergencies. 

Maps and Site Resources

Travel Tips for Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park During the Summer | Dave Sugnet | Visit Durango

  • Check the National Park Service website for road closures before your journey. 

  • Always bring plenty of water on hikes out into the backcountry. 

  • Stop in the Town of Mancos and pick up baked goods to fuel your adventures at Absolute Bakery & Cafe!

  • The sun is much stronger at higher altitudes, so apply and reapply sunscreen liberally every two hours.

  • Be respectful of Indigenous landmarks. 

  • Bring a decent camera with a good zoom lens to document your discoveries!

Accessibility Information 

  • Morefield Campground can be accessed with mobility limitations but may not meet legal-grade requirements. 

  • The Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center is barrier-free and wheelchair accessible. 

  • Wheelchairs with wide-rim wheels are recommended on trails. 

  • Persons with heart or respiratory ailments may have breathing problems at the park’s altitude. 

Care for Durango

  • Know and obey the fire restrictions before heading out. 

  • Please research the park restrictions and conditions before you make your trip. 

  • Store your food in a designated bear cache, vault, or hang.

  • Follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.

  • Do not engage with or feed the wildlife. 

  • Do not pick the wildflowers. 

  • Dogs must be leashed or otherwise physically restrained. Do not leave pets unattended.

  • Protect fragile environments and stay on marked trails.

  • Pack Plenty of water when exploring the park.

Pledge to Care for Durango