Life's Sweet Journey: Should you Book a Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings Tour? || #TravelTuesday Link Up

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Should you Book a Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings Tour? || #TravelTuesday Link Up

Happy Tuesday fellow travel lovers! 
It's time for another link up! Any travel related fun going on in your world? 
Head to the blue "add your link" button at the bottom of this post to add any travel related blog post (old of new) so that we can adventure together. 

This month I am sharing our time at Mesa Verde National Park!! We were there just over two weeks ago and had such a great time exploring the park and surrounding areas. A trip to Mesa Verde National Park is truly a trip back in time (and no, not just back to the 1980s, which is apparently the look I was going for that day; lol). 

Mesa Verde National Park is home to Pueblo cliff dwellings. Many of the original pueblo structures date back to 650 AD. These earlier dwellings can be found at the top of the cliffs and can be viewed by a drive through the park, with many stopping points to hit along the way. It wasn't until the early 1100s that they began building the dwellings inside the cliffs themselves. These pueblo cliff dwellings are some of the most well preserved dwellings still visited today. 

Is a Cliff Dwelling Tour Worth It? 

If you do not have an national park annual park pass, the cost to get into the park is $15 per car. You can see each site without a tour, by simply driving to each designated stopping point and viewing the dwellings from afar. However, if you want to truly take a walk in the feet of history, you need to book one of the multiple tours offered, which will take you directly into the cliff dwellings. The cost per tour is $5 per person and TOTALLY WORTH IT!! We did the Balcony House tour, which was the only one offered during off season. Though we don't have anything to compare it to, this was the best tour I think we could have taken. While Cliff Palace is probably the most well known in the park, it is also one that can be seen from the road. Balcony House is the only cliff dwelling that you CAN NOT see unless you book a tour. 

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings Tour

Book Your Cliff Dwelling Tour Early

We were told that you can not book tickets online and instead have to go to the visitors center to secure your tickets. We were also warned that tickets book fast and to be there early. Given that we live off of Eastern time and were a few hours ahead of Colorado we figured this wouldn't be an issue. We arrived at the park early on a weekday (around 10) and the tickets for that day's tours were already sold out. Thankfully we were staying in town and could come back, but there were some very disgruntled visitors who were only there for the day who would not be able to do a tour into the dwellings. If you want to secure a tour I would make sure that you either (1) get there are soon as the park opens for the day or (2) go the the visitors center a day or two before you plan to visit the park and book a ticket for a different day. The park pass you will get to enter the park is good for an entire week, so you can come and go during that time. We took one day to drive the loop and get out and look at the dwellings at each stop and then took the second day to go back and do the tour. 

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings Tour
Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings Tour

Come Prepared 

In order to access the cliff dwellings there are quite a few stairs, ladders, and tight tunnels that you need to be able to climb and crawl through. While there was nothing overly steep some of the ladders were quite long. I would recommend good shoes, water (elevation is not joke), and making sure you have eaten well prior to taking the tour. Bringing a snack is not a terrible idea either. Also, be prepared for the weather to change quickly. When the day started it was semi-warm, however, by the time the tour was about to start snow flurries were falling (in mid-April!!). Thank goodness my ear warmers had been left in my jacket pocket from when we went skiing, hence the circa 1980s look! 

Should you book multiple tours? 

Honestly, this is personal preference, but in our opinion we felt like one was enough. While it was very fun and such a humbling, neat experience knowing you are literally walking in the footsteps of this early Pueblo people, we did feel that a second tour would have been somewhat repetitive. Though Cliff Palace is a bit bigger than Balcony House the structure is still pretty much the same. We were able to view it from the road and could get a good feel for the differences in the two. We loved the tour, but also enjoyed being able to see the rest of the park at our own pace. 

We really loved getting to experience Mesa Verde National Park and would highly recommend a visit! We stayed at a campground just about 10 minutes from the park, but if you are looking for accommodations there is a beautiful lodge in the park itself that would be a wonderful option for visiting Mesa Verde. 

Any adventures of your own to share
Link up below and let's travel together!! 
#TravelTuesday Travel Blogger Link Up
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring!
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest account. 
~Please leave a little love on the post directly before yours and then anywhere else you like! That way we can all grow this community together :) 
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~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up.
~I will also be featuring my favorite post from the month before and sharing across social media. Because my heart is so very much missing my home state of Florida (and really all things Disney) this month's feature is from Ali, with her thoughts on Walt Disney Vs. Busch Gardens
Travel Tuesday Link Up


  1. I can't believe it went from semi-warm to snow that quickly! Good reminder to pack layers and be prepared for the weather changes. I've never been to mesa verde but need to add it to my bucket list.

    1. It really is so crazy how quickly the weather will change out here!

  2. This looks so fun!! I love history and learning so much so I know I'd love to do something like this. I'll definitely be adding this to my bucket list as well.

  3. The National Park looks amazing, I'd love to visit!

  4. This looks like it would be so amazing to see in person. I love to see nature being used like this and that view of the sights is awesome.

  5. This looks like an amazing place to visit! I hope I make it there someday!

  6. Looks like SO much fun, Mel. The only thing I would change is for your videos to be longer with even more detail. We can't get enough. :)

    1. Awww thanks so much! Will work on adding more in the future!! I am always at odds with keeping them short or letting myself ramble, because if let loose I can go on for hours! lol

  7. Ive never even heard of these Cliff Dwellings before! How cool! I always love to hear what people think about organized tours, because I often debate whether their worth it or not.

    1. Usually we opt to go off on our own, but guided was the only way to get to experience these and honestly it wasn't bad at all!

  8. I have seen more pictures of this place recently and it has become one of my bucket list items! Thanks for all the tips, I will need them for the day I am able to get over in that area.

  9. its seem that you enjoyed your trip, even me to would go there once in life. Thanks for sharing good trip experience.


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