Mesa Verde National Park

The second park I have worked at was Mesa Verde National Park located in southwest Colorado. Here I worked as an Interpretive Park Ranger, which is what I got my degree in! My duties were to lead tours/programs of the Ancestral Puebloan dwellings the park protects, work in the Visitor and Research Center, the Archeological Museum, as well as do an evening program. As an interpretive park ranger, my job is to help you connect to whatever is that interests you! I worked here for the summer of 2012 for four months, and a full season (six months) during the summer of 2013.

After a tour of Cliff Palace: 2012
After a tour of Cliff Palace: 2012

 

Check out a few of my favorite posts while I was at Mesa Verde!

Petroglyph Point: Mesa Verde National Park, CO

A walk in the Canyon-Spring House

A Child Like Curiosity – 2013 Evening Program

The Clouds Will Rumble

It’s Big and Hairy!

A Wise Old Owl – A Deserving Name

I worked here during the winter too; December 2014-May 2015.
 Its cold and it keeps snowingWhat does Mesa Verde mean to me?

Mesa Verde National Park was created in 1906 to protect the many archaeological sites located within in roughly 52,000 acres of land or “the works of man”. The park protects around 600 different cliff dwellings, and about 5,000 different sites on the mesa top. Now don’t get too confused, but Mesa Verde is actually not a Mesa at all! It’s technically a cuesta. Click here to learn the difference between a mesa and a cuesta.

One thing I cannot stress enough, if you want to visit Mesa Verde National Park is to stop at the Visitor and Research center at the entrance of the park! There you can get a map, and a VERY IMPORTANT ticket to visit a cliff dwelling on a ranger-guided tour. Many people complain about the ticket/tour system they have at Mesa Verde, however, it is the best way to keep the resources and you safe.

The park road is split onto two different mesas, Chapin Mesa (the main one) and Wetherill Mesa (which is only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day). On Chapin Mesa you need a ticket to visit Balcony House and Cliff Palace, however Spruce Tree House is a self-guided activity and requires no ticket. On Wetherill Mesa you need a ticket to visit Long House, and Step House is self-guided. Confusing right? It’s best if you stop at the Visitor and Research Center at the entrance of the park!

Visiting a cliff dwelling is very strenuous, and requires lots of climbing. One even includes a 32 foot ladder and a tunnel you have to crawl through on your hands and knees (Balcony House)! Mesa Verde National Park is around 7,000 feet above sea level, and to get to a cliff dwelling, you have to go down a 100 feet, and therefore climb back up that 100 feet!

Learning about Ancestral Puebloan life at Mesa Verde is quite enchanting and adventurous! You may even feel like Indiana Jones!!! But to keep theses places standing another 700 years, we do ask that you follow the rules, of no climbing, sitting, leaning, standing, or even touching the walls. As well as to only bring water with you, no flavored food or drinks.

There is plenty to do at Mesa Verde National Park; visiting archeological sites, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, a junior ranger program, and so much more! Check out their website!

If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Square Tower House located on the Mesa Top Loop drive.
Square Tower House located on the Mesa Top Loop drive.
Spruce Tree House: looking into the first courtyard.
Spruce Tree House: looking into the first courtyard.
Inside a Kiva at Spruce Tree House.
Inside a Kiva at Spruce Tree House.
Mule Deer
Mule Deer

2 Replies to “Mesa Verde National Park”

  1. Good to see you worked at this park as well. We used to own property just above Silverton, so we would visit Mesa Verde pretty regularly as a result. This is the only shot I’ve shared online so far:

    Like

Thanks for Reading! What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s