Saturday, May 23, 2020

Mesa Verde National Park is Beginning to Increase Recreational Access

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Mesa Verde National Park is increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning Sunday, May 24, 2020, Mesa Verde will reopen access to:

• Mesa Top Loop Drive
• Far View Sites
• Cliff Palace driving loop
• Park hiking trails
• Park restrooms
• Chapin picnic area

The park’s concessions facilities will also be open, including Morefield Campground, Far View Lodge, Far View Terrace, and Spruce Tree Terrace. For information on concessions, visit

Entrance fees will resume at the park’s winter rates, which can be found at Only credit cards will be accepted. Mesa Verde’s annual pass and all federal passes will also be available. A virtual ranger station will be open at the Visitor and Research Center parking lot and roving interpretation staff will be on site at that location.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

• Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Long House, and Step House cliff dwellings
• Wetherill Mesa Road
• Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
• Visitor and Research Center building

"We welcome you back to Mesa Verde and ask for your patience and understanding with our reduced services. Recreate safely and strive to maintain 6 feet spacing between you and others," said Superintendent Cliff Spencer.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Mesa Verde our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. Conditions may change quickly, which could affect facilities and services. As Mesa Verde continues to have limited operations due to COVID-19, some facilities may not be available, and staffing may be limited. Visitors should adjust their expectations accordingly and should practice social distancing, personal hygiene, and other behaviors to avoid infection in public areas. Visitors should not rely upon site staff to ensure their protection from contagious disease.

When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

Visitors traveling from outside the state of Colorado should be aware that they may be traveling through the Navajo Nation on their journey. Due to the significant impact the pandemic has had on residents, there are curfews in place and services may be limited; especially for those traveling at night. Please be respectful of these residents and plan accordingly prior to passing through Navajo Nation lands.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park website and social media channels.


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