The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park are definitely something different to see.

I visited the Balcony House first.  I am glad I did.  It was the most strenuous hike I have had in a long time, but it was fun.

   
   
As you can see, we had to climb some ladders to access the various levels of the cliff dwelling.

   
   
In this day and age of safety overkill, it is unusual that we can still climb ladders like this.

   
   
The views of the mesa are spectacular.
 

     
     
Once up in the cliff dwelling, you can roam around and take pictures.

     
     
Looking through the above window, I saw this view.

     
     
Windows were also used as doors.

     
     
 

 
 
 

 
 
Two kivas.
     
     
It is believed that the kiva was used for ceremonial purposes.

     
     
 
     
     
 

     
     
 

     
     
The exit of the Balcony House is unique.

First you have to slide through a narrow crack in the rock and crawl through a tunnel.  (See video.)
 

     
     
After climbing on your hands and knees getting through the tunnel, you encounter a strenuous climb up the cliff.
 
     
     
Another chance to check out the view while you await your chance to go up the last ladder.

     
     
The next cliff dwelling is called the Spruce Tree House.

For this visit, there is no reservation required and you can walk down to the cliff dwelling without the use of ladders or tunnels. 

     
     
 

     
     
 

     
     
 

     
     
In the foreground is a kiva with the roof still intact.

     
     
Looking across from the Spruce Tree House.

     
     
The last cliff dwelling of the day was a special treat.  I was able to get a ticket for the twilight tour of the Cliff Palace.  Only twenty people are in allowed in the twilight tour.

     
     
A view of the canyon that runs in front of the Cliff Palace.

     
     
The twilight tour consists of a narrator that represents a character that can tell the story of the cliff dwellings first hand. 

George is part of the Civilian Conservation Corp that helped restore the cliff dwellings.

     
     
We descend our way down the walkway while the last tour of the day leaves.

     
     
 

     
     
 
     
     
 

     
     
 

     
     
 

     
     
 

 

     
     
 


 

     
     

Across from the Cliff Palace, you can see other cliff dwellings in the distance.

     
     
 
     
     
 
     
     
 
     
     
Looking into the kiva and trying to understand the ventilation system.
     
     
Supposedly, with the roof in place, the fire draws air into the tunnel.  The air block prevents the fire from being blown out.  With the air being drawn into the kiva, air must exit through other vents.

     
     
 

     
     
Looking inside the above structure, you can see a painting at the top of the wall.

     
     
Here is the view from the Cliff Palace looking back at the viewing stand.

     
     
The end of a wonderful twilight tour and the end of an enjoyable day at Mesa Verde National Park.

     
     
 

Links

  Mesa Verde National Park  
  Cliff Dwelling Twilight Tour - 2012  
     
     
 

One video review is available

     
     

Mesa Verde National Park

 
     
     
   

 

 

This page was last enhanced on Saturday, July 28, 2012