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Balcony House Trail

 4.2 (11)

0.4 Miles 0.7 Kilometers


86%

Runnable

80' 24 m

Ascent

-81' -25 m

Descent

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

6,800' 2,073 m

High

6,719' 2,048 m

Low

Shared By Hunter R

Conditions


Unknown

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

Hunter R

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

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.

Runner Notes

Not open to trail running.

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 11 votes

#1799

Overall
  4.2 from 11 votes
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Rankings

#270

in Colorado

#1,799

Overall
7 Views Last Month
431 Since Jun 8, 2016
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