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About Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park was established by an act of Congress signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 29, 1906, to preserve “from injury or spoliation of the ruins and other works and relics of prehistoric or primitive man,” the first national park of its kind. Mesa Verde National Park is located near the Four Corners region of southwestern Colorado, where the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. The park’s approximately 52,000 acres is land that was inhabited by Ancestral Pueblo people from approximately AD 550 to 1300 and includes the most extensive concentration of well-preserved prehistoric cliff dwellings in the United States.

Through its establishment, Mesa Verde National Park was charged with the preservation of the archeological sites and other works and relics of prehistoric inhabitants within its boundaries. To protect certain areas of the park in a wilderness status, in 1976 Congress set aside 8,500 acres known as Mesa Verde Wilderness (PL 94-567, 90 Stat. 2692) under the provisions of the Wilderness Act (78 Stat. 890). On September 8, 1978, Mesa Verde National Park was among the first sites designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Cultural Site in recognition of the park resource’s outstanding value and importance to all humankind.

Visitors of Mesa Verde National Park have a wide variety of opportunities to explore and learn about the natural and cultural wonders of the park. The park offers many sites that provide insights into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people including Far View Sites, the Mesa Top Loop, Step House, and the Badger House Community at Wetherill Mesa. In summer, ranger-guided tours of three cliff dwellings, Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House are offered, while self-guided options exist for Spruce Tree House and Step House. About 20 miles of hiking trails are scattered throughout the park. The Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center provides orientation for visitors and houses the park’s 3 million object museum collection research library and archive.

Source: Foundation Document Overview – Mesa Verde National Park

| Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 to preserve and interpret the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from 600 to 1300 CE. Today, the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. | Mesa Verde National Park | Colorado | https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

Fast Facts:

Date the Park was Established:June 29, 1906
Park Area (as of 2019):52,485.17 acres (212.4 km2)
Recreational Visitors (2018 Total):563,420 visitors

Park Weather

Spring: Temps range from 40 F to 70 F, but snowstorms can occur as late as May. Summer: Temps can reach well into the 90s F. Thunderstorms are common in July and August. Be prepared to bring and DRINK plenty of water. Fall: Temps can range from 50 F to 75 F. Snowstorms can occur as early as October. Winter: Temps can range from the teens to low 30s F. Icy roads are common. Snow tires, all-wheel drive, or chains, may be required. Be prepared with water, snacks, and layers of warm clothing.