Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
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On the fun-factor scale, Balcony House on Chapin Mesa in Mesa Verde rates at or near the top of all the sites in the park. It is not for very young children or people who cannot negotiate or would be afraid of narrow passages and tall ladders. But for those who dare, it is an excellent ruin to visit. Specifically, the ranger-guided tour descends a 100-foot metal staircase perched on the side of a cliff, climbs a 31-foot wooden ladder up to a stone ledge, crawls through an 18-inch-wide, 12-foot-long dark stone tunnel, and climbs more ladders and stone steps up a steep slope.  None of it is dangerous, but it would be difficult to accomplish holding a small child.  

The ruin is a medium-sized one that has about 40 rooms. There are the unique balcony structures (which give the ruin it's name) and some picturesque wooden structural poles, but the big feature of this one-hour tour is that it is a bit of an obstacle course and particularly good for older children. 

Note: tours are offered every half hour during the summer, and tickets must be purchased up to two days in advance from the visitor center, museum, or Morefield Ranger Station. This site is closed in the winter.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


A bit physically challenging. Very beautiful, intimate ruin.


Not for people with an extreme fear of heights or enclosed spaces.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Nearby Adventures


I first visited Balcony House in 1960 as an 11 year old boy, and vowed to return. In April 2017, I finally did, and became an 11 year old boy again! As I was climbing out, I turned back and took this shot back down the cliff. I could only imagine the ancient Anasazi making this climb without the benefit of a hand chain (notice my grip on it).
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