Spruce Tree House Trail
ElevationAscent: 69' 21 m
Descent: -219' -67 m
High: 6,963' 2,122 m
Low: 6,813' 2,077 m
GradeAvg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
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“One of the best preserved and third largest cliff dwellings with fairly easy access via paved path.”— Ramoun Cabuhay
Family Friendly A short paved path with good views of the dwellings and first-hand interactions with kivas.
This is a self-guided tour for most of the year, with free ranger-guided tours during the winter months. Ranger-guided tours are offered three times a day.
The trail begins between the museum and the ranger's office. You'll find a sign that asks you to bring water, and leave food out of the dwellings. Food droppings can bring rats and potentially ruin the site. The trail is a smooth paved path with a moderate grade.
Follow the paved path down, and you'll shortly find yourself at the first viewpoint with a bench to rest on.
Continue down the path until you reach a fork. The path on the left takes you on the Spruce Treehouse loop in a clockwise direction, while taking the path on the right takes you to Spruce Canyon Trail and Petroglyph Point Trail.
Once you reach the dwellings you may enter one of the kivas, which are dwellings in the ground. Take note at how well preserved the wood is inside the kiva, and how it's former dwellers built the roof by placing logs along the ceiling to support the edges. There are also rangers present around the site to answer questions about dwellings and the people that lived in them.
When you're all done checking out the site, you may continue on the loop at the other end. The path descends about another 50 feet before heading back up. You'll find a small wooden bridge at the bottom of the path that crosses a seasonal stream. Follow the path all the way up and finish where you started at the museum.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Mesa Verde National Park