Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park, located near Cortez, Colorado, is an awesome place. The term "Mesa Verde" is Spanish for "Green Table." This seems to ring true, since most of the mesas in the park all are covered in green foliage.

The park is very big and the cliff dwellings are located 20 miles into the park. We visited two of the dwellings: Balcony House and Cliff Palace. We also visited some ruins in a place called Far View site, which was a small community located on top of Chapin Mesa.

The Balcony House tour was strenuous - we had to climb a 35-foot ladder and exit the dwelling via a narrow tunnel which was used for defense of the site. Cliff Palace is one of the largest cliff dwellings in the park.

A few of the many unanswered questions about Mesa Verde are:

The dwellings in the park were built and inhabited between 1100 to 1300 A.D. The main cliff dwelling - Cliff Palace - was discovered by the white man in 1888, and has been restored over the last 100 years.

Point Lookout - visible from the park entrance. The entrance sign to the National Park. Far View House, located at the Far View site.
Point Lookout - visible from the park entrance. The entrance sign to the National Park. Far View House, located at the Far View site.
More remains of Far View House, circa 600 A.D. A petroglyph located on Pipe Shrine House. A kiva, a place used for ceremonies and gatherings.
More remains of Far View House, circa 600 A.D. A petroglyph located on Pipe Shrine House. A kiva, a place used for ceremonies and gatherings.
Kiva details: Fire pit, deflector panel and sipapu. Here we are at Far View Tower at the Far View site. Looking back on the Far View site.
Kiva details: Fire pit, deflector panel and sipapu. Here we are at Far View Tower at the Far View site. Looking back on the Far View site.
The cliff immediately above Balcony House. The group getting a history of Balcony House. One of the many buildings within Balcony House.
The cliff immediately above Balcony House. The group getting a history of Balcony House. One of the many buildings within Balcony House.
Looking at one of the balcony structures. More of the building architecture in the House. More structures and buildings within the House.
Looking at one of the balcony structures. More of the building architecture in the House. More structures and buildings within the House.
A good view of the living area of Balcony House. Buildings, kivas and work areas along the cliff. You can see how close to the edge we were.
A good view of the living area of Balcony House. Buildings, kivas and work areas along the cliff. You can see how close to the edge we were.
Another cliff dwelling located across the canyon. More tiny ruins and cliff dwellings on a mesa. And more ruins. There are over 600 ruins in the area.
Another cliff dwelling located across the canyon. More tiny ruins and cliff dwellings on a mesa. And more ruins. There are over 600 ruins in the area.
A view on Cliff Palace - the largest at Mesa Verde. A close-up, overhead view of Cliff Palace. More buildings located in Cliff Palace.
A view on Cliff Palace - the largest at Mesa Verde. A close-up, overhead view of Cliff Palace. More buildings located in Cliff Palace.
This Palace may have only been a gathering place. One of the many towers located amongst the buildings. Remains of some walls and towers in the Palace.
This Palace may have only been a gathering place. One of the many towers located amongst the buildings. Remains of some walls and towers in the Palace.
Looking back on Cliff Palace within the cliff. Ruins, ruins and more ruins in Cliff Palace. Cliff Palace with tours guided by park rangers.
Looking back on Cliff Palace within the cliff. Ruins, ruins and more ruins in Cliff Palace. Cliff Palace with tours guided by park rangers.