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Visiting Mesa Verde. Questions on Cliff Palace tour

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31 posts
193 reviews
Visiting Mesa Verde. Questions on Cliff Palace tour

I am going to be visiting Mesa Verde in a couple of weeks. I have gone back and forth between attempting the Cliff Palace tour or not. I know I can not do the Balcony tour, because of the heights. I have a fear of heights, sharp drops and tight spaces. I have been inside caves, so I can handle tight spaces to a point, just not the extreme stuff. I didn’t know how many tight spaces are in Cliff Palace and I was worried about the heights. I can do ladders no problem, except when there is a sharp drop such as the one in Balcony House tour. Any suggestion on whether the Cliff Palace would be recommended for me somebody like me? Also, if not, were you still able to get a good experience visiting the site? What type of tours would you recommend for somebody afraid of heights?

2 replies to this topic
Sammamish...
Level Contributor
6,749 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Visiting Mesa Verde. Questions on Cliff Palace tour

We did the cliff palace tour on Saturday. I will acknowledge that neither heights or tight spaces bother me. To enter the dwelling you descend via some steep, narrow, uneven steps. Then along a walkway and up a ladder to the first stop where a ranger speaks for a bit. Then you move to one of the kivas and the ranger speaks some more. Then you exit. The exit involved more steps and three ladders. These are in a narrow crevasse.

The exit is the tightest spot. My wife is a little claustrophobic but did ok. When you're in the dwelling you are high up on the cliff. But the ground slopes away gently from the dwellings and there are lots of trees so it's like being on the slope of a hill.

You don't get to run around the dwelling. You walk along the edge and look at them, except the spot where the group gathers around a kiva.

You can drive around the park and see the dwellings from overlooks across the valleys. The overlooks are on the tops of the mesas and you notice the height more than at cliff palace. We really enjoyed the tour and driving through the park. These folks were prolific builders.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
2,046 posts
18 reviews
2. Re: Visiting Mesa Verde. Questions on Cliff Palace tour

I don't think you will have a problem. There are no dramatic drop offs. At the start, you go down some steps like any other stairs. You walk a bit along a trail that is nothing scary and you stop and the ranger explains. Then you walk along a trail some more that is not scary and you get to the main ruins. More ranger explanations. Nothing remotely scary there. At the end you climb up a wide ladder that is set into the wall. It is more like climbing a steep set of stairs than climbing a ladder. There are no tight spaces or sharp drops.

I think you will be fine.

As for other things to see, there is plenty. Drive the loops around Chapin Mesa and stop at the overlooks.

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