Established in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, Mesa Verde National Park is the first national park of its kind “To preserve the works of man.”
Experience history like never before as you explore Mesa Verde National Park. Once the home of the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan peoples, Mesa Verde is now a World Heritage Site recognized for its rich archaeological relevance. Offering nearly 5000 archaeological finds as well as some 600 cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde National Park contains some of the best preserved archaeological sites in North America.
Walk the same footpaths as the Ancestral Puebloans. Explore their homes, view dwellings built of sandstone and mud mortar into the sides of the overhanging cliffs. Visit their mesa top towers. Trod on the land that nurtured their farming terraces. It’s easy to imagine yourself living and working as the Ancestral Puebloans did in their ancestral homes amidst the beauty of Southwest Colorado.
Located near the scenic Four Corners, Mesa Verde National Park provides a unique opportunity to experience the prehistoric history of Southwest North America. At elevations of more than 8500 feet, the park boasts breathtaking views of Colorado as well as spectacular canyon scenery.
Arrived 1,400 Years Ago
Long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home.
Thrived for Over 700 Years
For more than 700 years the Ancestral Puebloan Peoples and their descendants lived and flourished in Mesa Verde and the surrounding areas.
Departed 800 Years Ago
Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away.
Preserved 110 Years Ago
On June 29, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to “preserve the works of man,” the first national park of its kind.
A Civilization in the Cliffs
Ancestral Puebloans originally resided and farmed on the mesa top for around 600 years. Late in the 12th century, some of the people began building pueblos beneath the overhanging cliffs and continued to farm on the mesa. For nearly a century the Ancestral Puebloans built and remodeled their Cliffside homes before beginning their migration into present day New Mexico and Arizona. The Mesa Verde occupation ended by 1300.
Today some 600 Pueblo cliff dwellings have been recorded, from simple one-room units to the multi-storied Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Town house. The cliff dwellings allow us to walk in the footprints of the Ancient Puebloans and experience their reverence for this land. The ruins provide us with a link from the prehistoric to our own present day way of life in the American Southwest.
Years of History
Home of the Ancestral Puebloan People
For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls.