Plan your Visit to
Mesa Verde National Park
Much to Explore and Enjoy
A trip any of the national parks within North America gives families the time they need to reinforce the bond that family brings and no other national park captures that family friendly atmosphere quite like Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Since its establishment in 1906, Mesa Verde National Park has giving over 500,000 visitors each year the chance to reconnect with nature while at the same time bringing families together for fun and adventure.
Best Park for Accessibility
When to go
April – May – June – July – August – September – October
Mesa Verde National Park Activities
History – Hiking – Archaeological Sites – Scenic Drives – Bird-Watching – Family – Stunning Vistas – Wildlife
Bring on the Winter Fun in Mesa Verde National Park
Many national parks either close or greatly reduce the number of activities available within the park, but in Mesa Verde National Park, there is no bad time to visit. Winter activities such as snowshoeing and snow skiing are quite popular and there are quite a few areas throughout the park that offer these activities for various experience levels. Ski hills such as Morefield Trail and Meadow Bliss Trail are well maintained and groomed throughout the season. They offer gentle slopes for those who may just be learning how to ski. For the more adventurous skier many backcountry ski hills give you the chance to ski in a less groomed environment. Cliff Palace Loop Trail and Prater Canyon are just a few of these more adventurous ski areas.
Snowshoeing is the perfect way to get around when you want to hike, but the snow is a bit too much to take on. Snowshoeing trails are found throughout Mesa Verde National Park including Prater Ridge and Point Lookout Trail, but visitors are highly cautioned to register before venturing out on their own. This gives a record of who when into the trails in the event that someone does not return. It is advised that you treat your snowshoeing excursion just as you would a hiking trip and bring plenty of gear, food, and water to last for the duration of the trip.
Take a Tour
We all love to venture out on our own to discover something new, but sometimes it is best to trust the experts to get the most from your experience. Mesa Verde National Park offers tours to suit a variety of group needs. These tours take visitors through some of the more protected areas of the park including Cliff Palace which is an ancient dwelling tucked beneath the cliff. Balcony House is another example of the cliff dwellings found throughout the park.
Before investing in a ranger led hike, make sure that you are healthy enough for it. Many of the hikes are only ¼ mile, but much of that small distance forces guests to climb steep rocks so it may not be suitable for everyone. Never overestimate your ability and if you are in doubt, be sure to ask the advice of any of the rangers on duty. They are the experts and therefore can tell you if a particular tour is not suitable for any part of the family.
A trip to Mesa Verde National Park would not be complete without viewing the wildlife of the area. Wildlife can be seen throughout the year, but during the winter many of the species may be a bit more elusive due to the extreme cold. Some of the animals to look for include the Great Horned Owl, the Black Bear, and the Mule Deer. These majestic creatures make for very impressive photographs to take home, but even if you want to get that perfect shot, never approach an animal and get too close just to get the shot. Animals can and will become stressed when they feel threatened and therefore may act differently than they would naturally. Keep your distance and enjoy the animals as they are in nature. It should also be noted that you should never feed any of the animals or leave trash on the ground as this can put the animal in great danger.
Things to Know
Mesa Verde National Park does charge entrance fees to cover their operating budget throughout the year, but the fees are relatively low when compared to other national parks. They also vary depending on whether visit during the winter or the warmer months. During winter the fees are $10 for passenger vehicles and $5 for motorcyclists and individuals. During the warmer month’s prices rise slightly to $15 per passenger vehicles and $8 for motorcyclists and individuals so budget according to the season you intend on visiting in.
Mesa Verde National Park camping is available year-round in Morefield Campground and reservations are not required as the campground rarely fills to capacity. Rates vary depending on what time of the year you visit so contact the park directly to see what the camping rates will be for your visit.