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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde
Designation National Park
Location South West Colorado, United States
Nearest City Cortez, Colorado
Latitude 37° 15' N
Longitude 108° 27' W
Area 52,122 acres
Date of Establishment 1906
Visitation 411,399 (2002)
Governing Body National Park Service
IUCN category II (National Park)

Mesa Verde National Park is located in southwest Colorado, in the western United States. The park entrance is located about 9 miles (15 km) east of the town of Cortez. The visitors center is 15 miles from the entrance, and Chapin Mesa (the most popular area) is another 6 miles past the visitors center.


It is best known for a large number of well-preserved cliff dwellings, houses built in shallow caves along the canyon walls. From the 6th to the 14th century, the Anasazi Indians lived in these dwellings. You can learn more about how they lived in the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum in the park.

You can tour three of the cliff dwellings on Chapin Mesa, Spruce Tree House is open all year (weather permitting). Balcony House and Cliff Palace are open Spring through Fall and may be visited via a ranger guided tour. Wetherill Mesa also has cliff dwellings, Long House, Badger House Community, and Step House. There are other dwellings that can be seen from the road, but can not be accessed. Check at the visitors center for tour times and costs.

There is also hiking trails, a campground and food/gasoline/lodging (early spring through late fall only) in the park.

[[Image:mesaverde_cliffpalace_20030914.376.jpg| Cliff Palace]]
Cliff Palace ()


The area was established as a national park June 29, 1906. It was designated a World Heritage Site September 6, 1978 In the 2002 summer, the park, which is covered with forest, suffered from a large number of forest fires, and parts of the park had to be closed down. All areas of the park have since re-opened, but some areas show significant damage from the fire.

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