Mesa Verde National Park


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North America
June 20th 2011
Published: June 29th 2011
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Balcony HouseBalcony HouseBalcony House

The stairway leading down to the Balcony House was quite steep but well built and very safe.
Mesa Verde National Park is one of the premier archeological parks administered by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. It is one of 15 national park units in Colorado and nearly 400 nationwide.

On June 29, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to preserve the works of ancient man, the first and still the only park of it's kind. Preserved here is extraordinary record of the Ancestral Puebloans who made this place their home for more than 750 years, from A.D. 550 to A.D.1300.

With over 52,000 acres, Mesa Verde preserves and protects nearly 5,000 archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, and over three million objects and archives in the research collection. The dwellings were all hand carved. Stones and mud were all carved and made by hand and laid like brick walls. It has been remarkably preserved.

You are free to climb and hike the trails and ladders to the cliff dwellings and a few must be guided by a park ranger. It is a beautiful park and a must see on your trip to the western part of Colorado.


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The 30 Ft. Log LadderThe 30 Ft. Log Ladder
The 30 Ft. Log Ladder

You must climb a 30 Ft. ladder to get to the Balcony House main living area. If you have a fear of heights, this is not the tour for you. The ladder is in the lower right hand corner of the picture.
The Balcony House living areaThe Balcony House living area
The Balcony House living area

It is a marvel that these people could climb and down these cliffs at will and live in this environment without large amounts of water. There is a spring inside the Balcony House where small amounts of water would be stored. Footholds were carved into the rock cliffs to enable climbing on the face of the cliffs.
The KivasThe Kivas
The Kivas

The Kivas were the main gathering point in the house where members of the tribe gathered to cook, eat, and worship. Many cooking utensils and other artifacts were collected from this area.
A controlled EntranceA controlled Entrance
A controlled Entrance

The indian people could control entrance to the balcony house for safety reasons by having each person entering the area to go thru a carved out space in the rocks where only one person could enter and exit at a time. You must turn sideways to get thru this area. If you are claustrophobic, this is not for you.
Crawling through the CaveCrawling through the Cave
Crawling through the Cave

One must crawl through a small opening in the rocks and crawl on your hands and knees for about 15 feet to get through this opening to enter the Balcony House main living area.
The Cliff PalaceThe Cliff Palace
The Cliff Palace

This is another dwelling site known as the Cliff Palace. It was a much larger site with many more Kivas indicating that multiple families lived here. The exit was quite narrow and placed between two cliffs. Narrow hand carved steps went over 100 feet straight up over the rocks. Quite facinating.
The Narrow Exit PassagewayThe Narrow Exit Passageway
The Narrow Exit Passageway

This passageway through the exit is so narrow that one must turn sideways to get through it in some places. It is 100 feet straight up and the stairs are hand carved between the cliffs.
Bill entering the narrow exitBill entering the narrow exit
Bill entering the narrow exit

Bill is about to enter the narrow exit of this site. He is 6 ft. tall so you can see the 100 ft. ascent to the top of the cliffs behind him.


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