Most Adventurous Tour at Mesa Verde

Balcony House - Adventure tour at Mesa Verde

When deciding which tour my wife and I would go on during our visit to Mesa Verde National Park, we were sold on the Balcony House tour, thanks to the “Most Adventurous” tagline that accompanied it.

I’m not sure how the Balcony House tour compares to the other tours at the park, but our tour was labeled most adventurous due to the ladder climbs and tight squeezes required to navigate through the area. And while I love a good adventure, the “most adventurous” aspects of the tour paled in comparison to the history lesson.

You can read about and learn about how the Pueblo people lived without going to Mesa Verde, but only at Mesa Verde can you actually see how they lived. Only at Mesa Verde can you really understand how they lived. Our tour was led by a knowledgeable park ranger who added context to what we saw. He told us how the people lived, explained how they built the structures that survived the test of time, and shared the speculation that exists as to why they eventually left Mesa Verde. Yes, all things that could be discovered during a simple web search, but to really appreciate that knowledge, you have to go to Mesa Verde.

Moderator’s Note:

The name of prospector, S. E. Osborn, and the date March 20, 1884, have been found in a dwelling in lower Soda Canyon. In a newspaper article published late in 1886, Osborn describes some of the sites he visited in the Mesa Verde in 1883- 1884. One of the descriptions is very similar to that of Balcony House. There is little doubt that he entered it.

One of the first superintendents of Mesa Verde National Park was archeaologist Jesse Nusbaum, who excavated Balcony House in 1910. 

The hour-long Balcony House tour requires visitors to descend a 100 foot staircase into the canyon; climb a 32 foot ladder; crawl through a 12 foot, 18 inches wide tunnel; and clamber up an additional 60 feet on ladders and stone steps.  Thus making it the “most adventurous” tour in the park.


  1. Wilderness Dave says:

    I know you guys did a big sweep on this trip, how many National Parks did you hit and how long were you out there?

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