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Balcony House Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An adventuresome route through the cliffs to the Balcony House cliff dwelling site.


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Map Key

0.4

Miles

0.7

KM

Loop

6,800' 2,073 m

High

6,719' 2,048 m

Low

80' 24 m

Up

81' 25 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

Family Friendly Older children who are comfortable with scaling a ladder and crawling through a tunnel will love this adventurous and educational tour.

Balcony House must be accessed via a ranger-led tour. Tickets are mandatory and can be bought at many locations around the park. For more information, visit the park's website.

Overview

Crawling through a tunnel, scaling a ladder, and climbing over a rock face are par for the course on the Balcony House Trail. Needless to say, this trail is for the most adventurous of Mesa Verde's visitors!

Need to Know

To visit Balcony House, you'll first need to purchase tickets for the ranger-led tour. These tours are typically available from late April to mid-October and tickets can be purchased at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center.

Description

This hour-long, ranger-led tour of Balcony House is one of the most intriguing tours that Mesa Verde has to offer. After purchasing your tickets, head to the Balcony House Trail Parking Area where the tour will start. Visitors can meet the ranger at the benches located under the shaded ramada where the tour will begin.

The trail itself presents many exciting challenges as visitors will have to descend a 100-foot staircase into the canyon before climbing a 32-foot ladder, and then crawling through a 12-foot, 18-inch wide tunnel. This tour is definitely not for those with a fear of heights or small spaces! After passing through the tunnel, you'll still have another 60 feet of climbing on ladders and stone steps to reach the Balcony House.

Once to the cliff dwelling itself, visitors are rewarded with an amazing cliffside view and an educational tour of the amazingly well-preserved Mesa Verde cliff dwelling.

The Balcony House, which is considered a medium size cliff dwelling, has a total of 40 rooms, and visitors can easily see how the rooms and passageways in the alcove were constructed over time. The dramatic views, well-preserved structures, and exciting features of this cliff dwelling are definitely what make it one of the most memorable sites in the park today.

History & Background

Balcony House was first found and entered by prospector S. E. Osborn in the spring of 1884. In a newspaper article published late in 1886, Osborn describes some of the sites and one of the descriptions is very similar to Balcony House leaving little doubt that he entered it during his visits to Mesa Verde in 1883-1884. Archeologist Jesse Nusbaum excavated Balcony House in 1910.

Contacts

Shared By:

Hunter R

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 14 votes

#2034

Overall
  4.2 from 14 votes
5 Star
36%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#280

in Colorado

#2,034

Overall
20 Views Last Month
719 Since Jun 8, 2016
Intermediate

8%
0%
77%
0%
15%
0%

Photos

Balcony House.
Jun 10, 2016 near Towaoc, CO
Balcony House.
Jun 8, 2016 near Towaoc, CO
Interior of Balcony House
Jun 8, 2016 near Towaoc, CO
Ranger Rick sharing how it was to live in the Balcony House
Aug 10, 2018 near Towaoc, CO
Heading to the ladders.
Aug 10, 2018 near Towaoc, CO
Exploring Mesa Verde.
Jun 10, 2016 near Towaoc, CO

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Check-Ins

Feb 3, 2020
Kortnee Withak
Sep 13, 2019
Brian Roe
Aug 16, 2019
Scott Meier
Jul 29, 2019
Maxx Dillon
Jul 10, 2019
Hannah Witter
Jul 4, 2019
Keith Hileman
7 of us — 5h 00m
Jun 27, 2019
Susan Hmel
Jun 25, 2019
Juan Ruiz
Climbing and crawling 4mi