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Mesa Verde National Park is a must-visit if you are passing through the Four-Corners area of the Southwest, and the best way to see the sites is to spend a few days exploring this expansive park. Because Mesa Verde is located in a remote part of Colorado, your best bet is to stay right inside the park.
While there are very few Mesa Verde lodging options, you will love the rooms at Far View Lodge and fabulous campsites at Morefield Campground. Here’s everything you need to know about Mesa Verde camping and lodging.
Read more: Camping and Hiking in our National Parks
Why You Should Visit Mesa Verde National Park
Tucked away in the corner of southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park preserves more than 4,000 Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites across more than 52,000 acres. This amazing park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest archaeological preserve in the United States.
The area that is now Mesa Verde National Park was home to the Ancestral Pueblos from about A.D. 600 to 1300. Among the thousands of archaeological sites, are 600 spectacular cliff dwellings, some of which can be explored on guided tours. In addition to exploring the many historical sites throughout the park, there’s also lots of great day hiking opportunities.
We 100% recommend staying inside Mesa Verde National Park so that you can really take advantage of all there is to see and do. Here’s an overview of lodging opportunities as well as great Mesa Verde camping.
Mesa Verde National Park Lodging: Far View Lodge
We passed through Mesa Verde National Park on a cross-country road trip this summer and decided to spend a few days exploring. We researched hotels, Mesa Verde campgrounds, and other lodging opportunities before our trip. The closest town to Mesa Verde is Cortez, Colorado, but because it is more than 30 miles outside the park, we decided to stay a few nights at Far View Lodge and a few nights in Morefield Campground, both right inside Mesa Verde National Park.
Far View Lodge is located in the middle of Mesa Verde National Park. It very close to the turnoff to Weatherill Road, which is a great road trip in the summer months, as well as Park Point, which is our favorite spot to watch the sunset. From Far View Lodge, you can walk to the Far View Terrace Cafe, which has decent breakfast and lunch fare. The Metate Room, which is a little more upscale, is located right next door to the lodge.
The Rooms at Far View Lodge
When booking your Mesa Verde lodging at Far View Lodge, you’ll have a choice between a Kiva room and a Kiva Deluxe room. The only difference is whether you want an expansive view from your balcony. We decided to pay the extra $10 for this little luxury and are so glad we did!
The rooms at Far View Lodge are quite small but very inviting and nicely decorated. The two double beds took up most of our room, and there was also a dresser, desk, coffee maker, and a small refrigerator. The bathroom area is also quite tiny. The rooms do not have TVs, which was fine with us, as we spent most of our time exploring the park. WiFi is usually available but wasn’t working at all during our visit.
All-in-all, Far View Lodge was a modest, comfortable place to spend a weekend. It was small and clean, and the beds were quite comfortable. The central location was perfect for exploring Mesa Verde National Park, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.
Mesa Verde Camping: Morefield Campground
There are lots of reasons why we usually choose camping over other types of lodging when visiting national parks. Cost is definitely one of them. Our stay at Far View Lodge cost us about $150 per night, and really it was only so we had a place to sleep. We didn’t spend non-sleeping hours there at all.
By comparison, Morefield Campground, which is located close to the main entrance to the park, is just $30 per night and $40 if you want a full hook-up for your RV. The sites are quite large, and like most national park campsites, come with a picnic table and fire ring. Occasionally, during extremely dry weather, a fire ban goes into effect, and campers must cook on a contained camp stove.
Morefield Campground makes a great home base for anyone who wants to spend time exploring in Mesa Verde National Park. Creature comforts may be lacking, but the sites are awesome and close to everything. We would expect nothing less, and we have always had great experiences camping inside national parks.
What You Need to Know about Mesa Verde National Park Camping
Both Far View Lodge and Morefield Campground are run by Aramark. Morefield Campground has 267 campsites, and rarely fills up, even on busy summer weekends. If you are hoping to get a room at Far View Lodge on the weekend, we definitely recommend making a reservation ahead of time. Find the best deals and read Far View Lodge reviews on TripAdvisor before booking your stay.
Here is some important information that will make your Mesa Verde camping trip relaxing, fun, and memorable.
- Big RVs – Morefield Campground does not allow RVs larger than 46 feet long.
- Pet Policy – Pets are permitted at Morefield Campground, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Please note that Mesa Verde National Park is not very pet-friendly. Pets are not allowed on any trails or at archaeological sites. If you do bring your dog, consider using Morefield Village Kennel for boarding while you explore the trails and sites.
- Extra fees – The above rates are for 2 people. If you have additional people over the age of six, there are additional fees.
- Camping Season – Morefield Campground is only open from mid-April to mid-October.
- Backcountry Camping? Nope. Due to the sensitive archaeological features in Mesa Verde National Park, camping is only available at Morefield Campground.
- Provisions – There is a well-stocked camp store at Morefield Campground, as well as the Knife-Edge Cafe, which offers all-you-can-eat pancakes in the summer.
Morefield Campground Amenities
Compared to many national park campgrounds, Morefield Campground is pretty luxurious. You will find the following amenities onsite.
- Gas station
- Camp store
- Showers (available 24 hours)
- Laundry facilities (open 24 hours)
- Dump station
- Free Wi-Fi
Hiking in Mesa Verde National Park Near Morefield Campground
Another benefit to camping in Mesa Verde at Morefield Campground is that you can walk from the campground to access a few really amazing hiking trails in Mesa Verde National park. The following trails can be accessed from the campground:
- Prater Ridge Trail – 7.8 miles, round trip. The Prater Ridge Trail begins at the west end of Morefield Campground and is rated as moderate. It loops around the top of a mesa with a single descent/ascent of about 1,000 feet. You can shorten your hike to about five miles by taking the cut-off trail. The Prater Ridge Trail provides stunning views of surrounding mesas and canyons, and you may see bighorn sheep.
- Knife Edge Trail – 2 miles, round trip. The Knife Edge Trail used to be the main access road into the park. It starts at the northwest corner of Morefield Campground. The trail is fairly easy, gaining just 154 feet in elevation, and provides fabulous views of Montezuma Valley.
- Point Lookout Trail – 2.2 miles, round trip. This trail begins near the amphitheater parking lot in Morefield Campground and switchbacks up the backside of Point Lookout and across the top of the mesa. It is rated as moderate and gains 521 feet in elevation. From the top of the mesa, you have great views of Montezuma and Mancos Valleys. It’s also a great wildflower trail in the summer.
Give yourself at least 2 days to explore all that Mesa Verde National Park has to offer. Whether you choose to camp or stay at the Far View Lodge during your visit, sleeping within the park will allow you to beat the crowds and make the most of your visit.
Want more ideas for exploring the Southwestern United States? Check out these posts!
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- The Best Glamping Near the Grand Canyon
- Why Cathedral Gorge is the Coolest State Park in Nevada