The Mesa Verde landscape is a remarkably well-preserved prehistoric settlement landscape of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, which lasted for almost nine hundred years from c. 450 to 1300. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms. In 1978, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.
Located in southwest Colorado, which sits at an altitude of more than 2,600 meters.
About Mesa Verde National Park
1. Mesa Verde National Park contains a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings, including the well-known cliff dwellings. This rich landscape provides a remarkable archaeological laboratory for enhancing our understanding of the Ancestral Puebloan people.
2. Some 600 cliff dwellings built of sandstone and mud mortar have been recorded within Mesa Verde National Park – including the famous multi-storey Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House – and an additional 4,300 archaeological sites have been discovered.
3. The exceptional archaeological sites of the Mesa Verde landscape provide eloquent testimony to the ancient cultural traditions of Native American tribes. They represent a graphic link between the past and present ways of life of the Puebloan Peoples of the American Southwest.
4. Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements necessary to understand and express the Outstanding Universal Value of Mesa Verde National Park, including habitation and non-habitation archaeological sites and features, as well as settlement patterns.
5. Excavated sites have been stabilized and undergo routine monitoring, condition assessment, and preservation treatment, based on continuing research and consultation. The property is of sufficient size to adequately ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey the property’s significance, and does not suffer from adverse effects of development and/or neglect. There is no buffer zone for the property.
6. Mesa Verde National Park is authentic in terms of its forms and designs, materials and substance, location and setting, and spirit. Large portions of the sandstone and mud-mortar multi-storey buildings have survived intact in form and materials, a tribute to the engineering skills of these early peoples as well as the dry environment of the mesa’s alcoves. These architectural remains reflect the range of ancient Pueblo construction techniques as well as settlement patterns.
Best Time to Visit
Mesa Verde is always open but recommend a visit after Labor Day in September. The best time to avoid the crowds and still enjoy pleasant weather is September after Labor Day, as long as guided tours are offered. School holidays are between the end of May and Labor Day. Around 600,000 visitors come to Mesa Verde annually, most of them in the summer.