Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

RV Rental Dates


Mesa Verde National Park, situated in the southwestern region of Colorado, possesses a significant historical and cultural value, safeguarding the ancient dwellings and artifacts of the ancestral Pueblo people who thrived in the area for more than seven centuries. As one of the earliest national parks in the United States, established on June 29, 1906, Mesa Verde is an iconic site in the American Southwest. The name “Mesa Verde,” derived from Spanish, translates to “green table,” fittingly representing the park’s distinctive landscape characterized by high plateaus and deep canyons.

This renowned park holds UNESCO World Heritage status since 1978 and showcases the remnants of one of the most sophisticated ancient civilizations in North America—the Ancestral Puebloans. These indigenous inhabitants occupied the region from 600 AD to 1300 AD, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and various artifacts that provide valuable insights into their way of life.

The natural setting of Mesa Verde National Park adds to its allure, featuring mesa-top plateaus surrounded by extensive canyons. Its diverse ecological habitats range from desert floors to high-altitude mountain peaks, fostering a wide array of wildlife, including deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and bighorn sheep.

Given its location and varying topography, the weather in Mesa Verde can be unpredictable, necessitating precautionary measures for RV renters. Summer temperatures can soar up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while winters witness freezing temperatures and substantial snowfall. RV travelers must prepare for changing weather conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Visitors with RVs have the opportunity to partake in numerous activities at Mesa Verde National Park, such as hiking, picnicking, biking, and horseback riding. The park also offers ranger-guided tours of the awe-inspiring cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and artifacts, offering an enriching understanding of the region’s cultural significance. Exploring the various trails amidst the picturesque canyons further enhances the overall experience.

Mesa Verde National Park boasts seven RV-friendly campgrounds, each equipped with amenities like picnic tables, fire pits, and potable water. Additionally, the campgrounds provide restroom facilities, including showers, ensuring a comfortable stay for RV renters. With 267 available sites, visitors can easily find suitable accommodations to immerse themselves in the beauty and historical wonder of Mesa Verde National Park, which remains open daily, with the peak season spanning the summer months.

Park Alerts (2)

Although a substantial portion of the park remains accessible, Mesa Verde currently has several closures due to safety and ongoing projects. These closures encompass the Wetherill Mesa Road and Spruce Tree House. For further details, please refer to the provided link.

The use of drones is strictly prohibited within the boundaries of all lands and waters managed by the National Park Service, including Mesa Verde. This prohibition is in place to protect the well-being of fellow visitors and wildlife and to prevent any interference with critical operations, such as firefighting and emergency responses.

RV Rentals in Mesa Verde National Park


Mesa Verde National Park can be accessed through a single entrance and exit point along the US-160. There are several small towns nearby, including Mancos (approximately eight miles away), Cortez (around 10 miles away), and Dolores (around 18 miles away), where visitors can find necessary supplies and amenities. Traveling to and from the park is challenging due to steep, narrow, and winding mountainous roads, not recommended for those with reservations about such routes. Depending on weather and traffic conditions, it’s advisable to allocate at least two hours for the drive in and out of the park. Rig size restrictions vary at different entrances; it’s important to check guidelines beforehand.

At Mesa Verde National Park, there are designated RV parking areas available at several key points, including the Visitor Center, various overlooks, and major trailheads. However, it’s important to note that RVs and trailers are not allowed in the cliff dwelling areas and certain narrow, winding roads. Overnight parking for RVs outside of designated campsites is not permitted within the park. Visitors with RVs are encouraged to utilize the Morefield Campground, the only campground within the park that offers RV sites with hookups. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

As Mesa Verde National Park is situated in a remote area, public transport options are unavailable. RV owners can opt for walking or biking within designated areas. To protect the valuable archaeology, it’s essential to stick to designated roads and trails. There are walking paths and trails throughout the park, providing opportunities for visitors to explore on foot and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Each visitor plays a vital role in maintaining the park’s pristine condition and should be responsible while enjoying this remarkable destination.

Campgrounds and parking areas in Mesa Verde National Park

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Top Campsites in Mesa Verde National Park

Morefield Campground

Situated at the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park, stands as the park’s favored camping site. Boasting 260 sites, each equipped with tables and grills. While most sites are primitive, some sites offer electric and water hookups. This pet-friendly campground accommodates RVs and trailers up to 50 feet long. Additional amenities encompass a camp store, laundry facilities, showers, and a dump station, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the natural splendor of the park. It also proves advantageous for hikers as it serves as a starting point for several hiking opportunities, enabling extensive exploration.

Far View Lodge Campground

Located in the picturesque Colorado Rocky Mountains near Mesa Verde National Park, stands as a sought-after camping destination for campers. Sprawling over 32 acres, the campground boasts 87 RV sites with full hookups and 24 tent sites, that can accommodate RVs and trailers of all sizes, catering to a diverse range of campers. Amenities comprise a heated pool, a game room, a playground, a camp store, and a laundry facility, ensuring a comfortable and entertaining stay. RV renters can relish a wealth of activities, including fishing, hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing, while the presence of volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and an outdoor amphitheater adds to the enjoyment of group activities. With a pet-friendly policy, campers can bring their furry companions, provided they are kept on a leash during their stay.

Durango KOA

A highly sought-after campsite in Mesa Verde National Park. Situated on the Four Corners Monument near the Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona borders, and conveniently places you within an hour’s drive of both the Animas River and Mesa Verde National Park.

With a total of 67 sites, the campground offers two types of sites: full hookup sites with deluxe patios and built-in fire pits, featuring up to 50-amp service, or water and electric-only sites (including 47 RV sites boasting full hook-ups). Durango KOA accommodates RVs and trailers of all sizes, from small pop-ups to a maximum pull-through length of 100 feet, even the largest rigs can be accommodated. The campsite’s array of amenities includes laundry facilities, a swimming pool, a hot tub, mini golf, horseshoes, and two playgrounds. For added convenience, a general store on-site offers camping supplies, snacks, and souvenirs.

Durango KOA warmly welcomes pets and offers abundant outdoor activities suitable for the whole family, such as hiking, biking, and fishing. Additionally, visitors have ample opportunities to explore the nearby wonders of Mesa Verde National Park. Other nearby attractions, such as the Anasazi Heritage Center and the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, further enhance the experience for those seeking adventure and cultural exploration. Opting for Durango KOA as your accommodation during your trip grants you stunning views of the San Juan Mountains from the elevated 7,000 ft. mesa location.

Cortez / Mesa Verde KOA

Situated in the heart of Cortez, Colorado, conveniently located just a short drive away from Mesa Verde National Park. This camping site provides a total of 77 RV sites, each offering full hookups, including 30/50 amp electric, water, and sewer connections. The campground boasts various amenities, such as a laundry facility, a heated swimming pool, a playground, and a well-stocked camp store. Additionally, they offer a dog park and a spacious fenced-in area, ensuring a welcoming stay for your furry companions.

For RVers, the campground offers a diverse range of activities to indulge in, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, and golfing. Nearby attractions like Mesa Verde National Park, the Anasazi Heritage Center, and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument further enhance the camping experience.

Cortez / Mesa Verde KOA operates year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy its facilities and natural wonders throughout all seasons. As a pet-friendly establishment, you can bring your pets along for the adventure. Moreover, the campground welcomes all sizes of RVs and trailers, encompassing Class A, Class B, and Class C motorhomes, fifth wheels, and travel trailers, ensuring a comfortable stay for all travelers.

Season-specific experiences in Mesa Verde National Park

Observation of the Spruce Tree House Ruins

Spruce Tree House, the park’s third-largest and well-preserved cliff dwelling, is nestled within a natural outcrop and features 130 rooms and eight kivas (chambers) and may have accommodated up to 80 people in ancient times. Visiting the Spruce Tree House ruins is restricted due to a hazardous rockfall in 2015, making guided tours unavailable. However, visitors can still observe the ruins from designated viewpoints near the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. The park experiences fewer crowds during winter, providing a serene atmosphere. Be prepared for colder temperatures and potential snow, and check for road and facility closures before your visit.

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum

The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is a must-visit attraction in the park, situated about 20 miles from the park’s entrance. It is a visitor center and museum where visitors can learn about the daily lives and history of the Ancestral Pueblo people. During the winter season, please be aware that the museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. In addition to being an information hub, the museum offers amenities such as a store, cafe, fully accessible bathrooms, and a gift shop for visitors to enjoy. Additionally, the museum offers guided tours of the nearby cliff dwellings constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans. Throughout the winter season, the museum operates daily from 8 am to 5 pm and admission is free of charge.

Scenic Drive

During the winter in Mesa Verde National Park, the Scenic Drive remains open as a 10-mile, one-way loop that showcases the park’s most spectacular sites. The drive offers breathtaking views of the snow-covered landscape, including cliffs, valleys, and historical sites such as cliff dwellings, ancient ceremonial areas, and rock art. Visitors can stop at various overlooks like the Sun Point Overlook, Chapin Mesa Overlook, and Far View Overlook to take in the stunning scenery. Wildlife sightings, such as deer, bighorn sheep, and coyotes, are also possible along the drive. The loop typically takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete, making it a perfect half-day excursion during the winter season.

Lecture Series and Fireside Gathering

Offers educational talks and presentations on various topics related to the park’s cultural and natural heritage. Sponsored by local organizations, these free-of-charge lectures cover subjects such as archaeology, Native American cultures, history, geology, and wildlife. Held at designated locations within the park, the talks aim to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of Mesa Verde’s significance and unique features. It provides an accessible opportunity for visitors to deepen their knowledge during their park experience.

Hiking the Petroglyph Point Trail

In the fall, the park is filled with vibrant colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploring the trails. The Petroglyph Point Trail is a 1.5-mile round trip trail that takes visitors to a viewpoint overlooking the park and to an area with ancient petroglyphs carved into the sandstone cliffs and offers captivating fall foliage views. RV campers can relish the moderate hike, which spans around two miles

Prater Ridge Trail

The Prater Ridge Trail is a 4.3-mile round-trip trail that offers stunning views of the mesas, canyons, and buttes of the park. Along the way, hikers will come across ancient archaeological sites and stunning rock formations. Fall is the perfect season for exploring these trails as the temperatures are mild and the colors of the changing leaves lend an extra level of beauty to the landscape.

Exploring the Twilight Cliff

Exploring the Twilight Cliff Tours activity in Mesa Verde National Park during fall offers a captivating experience with breathtaking views of sandstone cliffs, lush forests, and meadows. The changing colors of autumn foliage and cooler temperatures add to the allure. The guided tour leads visitors through various trails, providing opportunities to spot wildlife and explore iconic sites like Cliff Palace and Balcony House. It’s an unforgettable way to immerse in the park’s beauty and history. To ensure an intimate experience, each tour is limited to just 15 people at a time. If you’re interested, it’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance online to secure your spot.

Mesa Top Loop Road

The scenic route offers RV campers a captivating journey through the heart of Mesa Verde National Park. Campers will encounter several archaeological sites, providing a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Puebloan culture that once thrived in the region. These sites include well-preserved dwellings, pit houses, and ancient farming terraces. The road’s well-marked pullouts and viewpoints offer convenient opportunities for RV campers to explore, and learn about the history and heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Along the way, interpretive signs provide valuable information, enriching the experience and deepening the understanding of the remarkable civilization that once inhabited this area.

Photography Opportunities

Summer is an exceptional time for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty and grandeur of Mesa Verde National Park. The season’s clear skies and ample sunlight create optimal conditions for capturing stunning landscapes, ancient architecture, and unique geological formations. The park’s contrasting colors, from the deep greens of the forests to the red sandstone cliffs, offer photographers a diverse and vibrant palette to work with. Wildlife, such as deer, rabbits, and a variety of bird species, is more active during this season, providing opportunities for wildlife photography. Sunrise and sunset scenes over the canyons and ancient dwellings create breathtaking compositions that are sure to delight any photographer.

Ranger-Led Programs

Mesa Verde National Park’s ranger-led programs are a highlight of the summer camping experience. These informative and engaging programs are led by knowledgeable park rangers who share their expertise on various aspects of the park. Guided hikes take campers on well-planned routes, where rangers offer insights into the park’s unique geological features, flora, and fauna. Along the trails, campers learn about the cultural significance of the archaeological sites they pass, providing a deeper understanding of the ancient civilization that once flourished in this area. Evening programs offer captivating presentations at the park’s amphitheater or visitor centers, where rangers discuss topics like the history of the Ancestral Puebloans, the significance of the cliff dwellings, and the natural wonders of Mesa Verde. These ranger-led programs not only enhance the camping experience but also create memorable and educational moments for RV campers to cherish.


During the winter, stargazing in Mesa Verde National Park offers a unique and unforgettable experience. The park’s remote location, away from city lights, provides excellent opportunities for observing the night sky in all its splendor. The crisp and clear winter air enhances visibility, making it easier to spot celestial wonders like stars, constellations, and even the Milky Way. RV campers can enjoy the peaceful and quiet atmosphere as they gaze at the sparkling night sky above the ancient cliff dwellings and majestic landscapes. It’s a perfect activity to connect with nature and marvel at the beauty of the cosmos during the serene winter nights at Mesa Verde National Park.

Wildflower Viewing

Spring is a captivating time to experience the wildflowers that adorn Mesa Verde National Park. As the winter chill gives way to warmer temperatures, the park’s landscapes come alive with a burst of colors. RV campers have the opportunity to explore the park’s trails and witness a stunning display of blooming wildflowers. The diverse range of wildflowers includes vibrant hues of red, yellow, purple, blue, and more, creating a picturesque scene against the backdrop of ancient cliffs and canyons. Some of the common wildflowers found during spring include Indian paintbrush, lupine, shooting stars, and various types of daisies. Campers can take leisurely walks along the park’s designated trails, immersing themselves in the beauty of nature and capturing photographs of the delicate blooms. The wildflowers also attract pollinators like butterflies and bees, enhancing the overall sensory experience. It’s a wonderful opportunity for nature enthusiasts and photographers to witness the fleeting beauty of spring in Mesa Verde.


Spring is a birdwatcher’s delight in Mesa Verde National Park. The park’s diverse habitats, ranging from woodlands to canyons, attract a wide variety of bird species. RV campers can embark on birdwatching expeditions throughout the park to spot a plethora of feathered residents. From small songbirds to majestic raptors, the avian diversity in Mesa Verde is sure to captivate birdwatchers of all levels. Birdwatchers can keep an eye out for iconic species such as turkey vultures, ravens, mountain bluebirds, and several types of woodpeckers. The warmer temperatures of spring entice migratory birds to return to the region, adding to the excitement of birdwatching in Mesa Verde. The park provides ideal vantage points for birdwatching, including the park’s overlooks, trails, and quieter corners. Birdwatchers are encouraged to bring binoculars and bird field guides to help identify the various bird species they encounter. The peaceful and unspoiled natural surroundings of Mesa Verde create a serene atmosphere for birdwatching, allowing campers to connect with nature and witness the fascinating world of avian life in the park.

Soda Canyon Overlook Trail

During the spring in Mesa Verde National Park, the Soda Canyon Overlook Trail offers an easy and accessible walk suitable for all ages. The trail starts about a mile north of the Balcony House ruins parking area and leads visitors to the canyon’s edge, providing stunning views of Balcony House and other sites along Soda Canyon. It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the ancient dwellings and the picturesque natural landscapes.

Balcony House Guided Tour

In the spring season, the Balcony House Guided Tour provides an exciting and immersive experience with the ancient ruins. Led by knowledgeable guides, the one-hour tour involves climbing a 32-foot tall ladder to access the site’s entrance. Visitors then navigate through a narrow 12-foot tunnel and ascend 60 feet up an exposed cliff face. This tour is ideal for adventurous individuals seeking a more immersive exploration of Mesa Verde. The Balcony House tour offers historical insights and a thrilling journey through the ancient cliff dwelling, making it an unforgettable springtime adventure.