Cliff Palace Loop Trail

EASY 44 reviews
#2 of 18 trails in

Cliff Palace Loop Trail is a 0.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

0.4 miles
85 feet

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers



historic site

no dogs

This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders, on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip.

16 days ago

You will not be disappointed. Amazing tour.

18 days ago


21 days ago

5$ guided tours of the largest cave dwelling in the park. Ranger James was an amazing guide and gave great insight into the parks history. One of the rangers ahead of us even played a native American song on the flute and it gave me chills. Definitely a must see spot in the park.

1 month ago

Guided tour only. The most iconic of the cliff dwellings.

7 months ago


9 months ago

We booked a Twilight Tour in advance ($20 each). It started at 6:45 after all other day tours had finished so we had the Cliff Palace all to ourselves for 1 and 1/2 hours. It was spectacular and the colors as the sun set were jaw dropping !! A not to be missed experience !! Steep and narrow steps to get in and a couple of ladders to climb to get out. Otherwise you are up close and personal with the ruins.

9 months ago

Great views. Ladders and chunky steps to climb

10 months ago

Very very cool. Must see if you are close.

10 months ago

Get there early and book tickets. We took the first tour of the morning, and it was well worth it. Several ladders to climb.

11 months ago

This is a ranger guided tour. Cost $5 adult fee. Loved this tour. There are several ladders and steep steps, but most can easily handle this tour. The structures and history are amazing. Well worth the time and effort.

11 months ago

Informative, ranger-guided tour. To get into and out of the site, you will navigate steep stairs and ladders (be mindful of this if you have young children...and the fact that there are steep drop-offs). The site itself is a breathtaking step back in time!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Great tour guides (only $5!), very worth it!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Enjoyed this historical hike and sightseeing experience! The tour guide was very informative and the place was beautiful. The climb down was a little challenging and there were too many tourists at the time we were there in the fall season. The Milky Way was quite visible from the top of Mesa Verde . We stayed at the lodge and there were wild Mustangs early morning grazing around the lodge. It was beautiful! Loved the place!

Friday, October 07, 2016

This is a ranger-led tour to to one of the largest cliff dwelling sites in North America. Much restoration work has been done, and the ranger showed us photos of how the site looked when first "discovered" and during various phases of restoration. Easy trail with stairs. $4 per person with tickets available at Visitor Center near entrance to the park.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This is the second ranger led trail that I took while visiting the park. Got to climb several ladders, exploring the living quarters and learning about the people that lived their in the past.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A guided tour, gives you a good history lesson! A definite sight to see!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Awesome! Make time for this if you're in the area

Friday, August 28, 2015


Sunday, July 12, 2015

This place is amazing.

Friday, July 10, 2015

If you have come to Mesa Verde , you can't miss the Cliff Palace.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Friday, May 15, 2015

Wow! That's all that needs to be said! If you get the chance to visit SouthWest Colorado, stop at Mesa Verde and visit this amazing historical site! The hike down and out of the Cliff Palace can be a bit difficult for some, but if you take your time you can experience something wonderful. The National Park rangers are an added bonus, if you enjoy learning something about the area and people.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Fascinating and fun hands on tour of reconstructed ruins in Mesa Verde NP. You climb some ladders to access the dwellings and in some cases can walk around in them.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Great guided ranger walk. Have done it more than 10 times. Very popular with my Grandchildren who have been there about 3 times.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Awesome hike, great for families, amazing cliff dwelling. This is a guided hike, so you have to buy tickets at the visitor center. This hike involves uneven stone steps, ladders, and may be difficult for some.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This ruin is huge and an very interesting

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Great guided tour with really cool rock stairs and ladders and then the ruins are awesome! Very worth while!!

rock climbing
Sunday, August 18, 2013

This is one of the guided tours in Mesa Verde. We did the Cliff Palace and the Balcony House. Balcony House was more adventurous because you get to climb a 32 feet ladder. The cliff dwellings were awesome and we loved doing both of these. You get to climb little rocks in place. It is not a difficult hike. It was fun.

rock climbing
Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mostly rocky hiking with a few climbs. Worth it everytime

Saturday, September 01, 2012

We arrived just before the Far View visitor center opened (15 miles into the park) to get our tour tickets (we paid $2.75 each, now costs $3) to tour the largest and famous Cliff Palace. Tours last about an hour and there is also the 2nd largest cliff dwelling Long House ruin which is on Wetherill Mesa - roads running through Wetherill Mesa provide excellent opportunities to see the sites but it also allows visitors to view Montezuma Valley, Sleeping Ute Mountain and parts of eastern Utah; all dwellings can be seen from a distance via viewing platforms if you dont want to take the tours. While waiting we tested the model opening that shows how narrow the tunnel is to the Balcony House Ruin and also found out that it is really for those who want to test their climbing prowess. Cliff Palace was the largest ruin with more kivas and easier access - and better for kids. After checking out the visitor center, we drove another six miles to the park headquarters and the museum and then to our 9AM tour of the Cliff Palace Ruins, a four-story apartment complex with stepped-back roofs forming porches for the dwellings above all set back beneath the rim of a cliff and reached by a quarter-mile downhill path. We waited at the top overlooking the ruins and talked a bit to the ranger prior to the tour. We were the first in line (there must have been about 40 people altogether) and led the way down the rock steps and along the paved trail to the ruins. We all stopped on the edge and the ranger talked about how nomadic people had built these structures, how water was collected, and gradually how vegetation died out and how the people had to cover more ground to collect firewood and find food; one of the reasons they eventually abandoned the areas. We learned about kivas and how they were built and climbed up a few short ladders - five total (Balcony House has a 32-foot ladder). Very interesting tour hike!

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