A Brief History

The history of Mesa Verde National Park is a long and fascinating one. The park is home to over 600 ancient cliff dwellings, which were built by the Ancestral Puebloans between 600 and 1300 AD. The cliff dwellings are some of the best preserved in the United States, and they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of these early people.

The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, were a group of Native Americans who lived in the Four Corners region of the United States. They were skilled farmers and builders, and they created a sophisticated culture that thrived for over 1,000 years.

The Ancestral Puebloans began building cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde region around 1000 AD. These dwellings were built into the sides of cliffs, and they offered protection from the elements and from enemies. The cliff dwellings were often multi-story buildings, and they could house hundreds of people.

The Ancestral Puebloans abandoned Mesa Verde around 1300 AD. The reasons for their abandonment are not fully understood, but it is thought that a combination of factors, including drought, overpopulation, and warfare, may have contributed to their decision to leave.

Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southwest.

Here are some of the most popular attractions in Mesa Verde National Park:

  • Cliff Palace: Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park. It is a multi-story building that once housed over 200 people.
  • Balcony House: Balcony House is a smaller cliff dwelling that is located high up on a cliff face. It is accessible by a series of ladders and stairways.
  • Spruce Tree House: Spruce Tree House is a well-preserved cliff dwelling that is located in a secluded area of the park. It is a great place to learn about the Ancestral Puebloan way of life.
  • Mesa Top Sites: Mesa Top Sites are a group of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings that are located on the mesa tops. These dwellings are not as well-preserved as the cliff dwellings, but they offer a different perspective on the Ancestral Puebloan way of life.

If you are interested in learning more about the history and culture of the Ancestral Puebloans, we highly recommend visiting Mesa Verde National Park. It is a great place to see some of the most amazing archaeological sites in the United States and to learn about the people who built them.

Plan a Tour

The Mesa Verde Experience

Check out some of the beautiful scenery and history that Mesa Verde National Park has to offer.


Plan your vacation to Mesa Verde National Park to include time for hiking and exploring the ancient cliff dwellings as well as all of the other fun adventures the Four Corners area has to offer.


There are a variety of lodging options near Mesa Verde National Park and in the surrounding areas, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds.


In addition to visiting Mesa Verde National Park, there are a variety of other things to do in the area, such as hiking, camping, rafting, the Durango & Silverton train, and many other adventures.

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