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Mesa Verde N.P.: Tours of dwellings suitable for elderly?

Mesa Verde N.P.: Tours of dwellings suitable for elderly?

Old Apr 4th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Mesa Verde N.P.: Tours of dwellings suitable for elderly?

Continuing to plan fall trip to Colorado. Have reservations at the Far View Lodge. It's been too many years since I've been to Mesa Verde to really remember how rigorous the tours like Cliff Palace, etc. are. I remember one had a steep ladder and there was one tunnel where you had to crawl on hands and knees.

This trip includes my parents who are good walkers - 3 miles/day usually, but relatively flat terrain.

If you have been on these tours, were other seniors getting around okay?

Thanks for your replies.
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 05:28 AM
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Balcony House is the tour with the ladders and as far as I can remember, no one had any problems with this tour. As long as your parents are active and don't have balance or fear of heights issues, I think this would be fine for them to go. Take your time and enjoy the scenery!
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Balcony House does have the ladders.
I would ask the rangers. I was 70 when I did Balcony House with no trouble.
But my 75 year old cousin scared the wits out of me when she slipped on the ladder. I think judicial inquiries are in order.

Walking is one thing; ladders are another. Cliff Palace should be ok.
I don't remember about Long House, the one on the other Mesa. It is most interesting, but somewhat restricted.
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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The one hour Cliff Palace tour involves climbing five, 8 - 10 ft. ladders on a 100 ft. vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/3 mile.

The one hour Balcony House tour has a 32 ft. ladder to gain entrance, a 12 foot crawl crawl thought an 18 inch wide tunnel on hands and knees and a climb up a 60 ft open rock face involving two 10 ft. ladders to exit.

The 90 minute Long House tour involves climbing three 15 ft. ladders within the site. The round trip hike is 3/4 mile, with a 130 ft. gain in elevation upon exiting.

http://www.nps.gov/meve/public_info_...itor_guide.pdf

Utahtea
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Thank you, thank you for your wonderful replies.

Guess we'll just have to think about that 32-foot ladder and the 18-inch crawl space. I'm thinking positive that my parents can do them all.

We'll have 2 full days in the park. The website recommended (thank you utahtea) suggests only 1 tour per day. If you had to choose only 2 from the list of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House, which ones would you choose?

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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For me, Balacony House was more for the experience of crawling threw tunnel of the dwellings. I think it's the smallest of the three. My two favorite are Long House and Cliff Palace.

Utahtea
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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I also love Long House. I have never done Cliff Palace, and I'm dying to see it. If it's open, drive the Wetherill Mesa loop for a look at MV that many people don't see.

Unless they've changed the rules, you're only ALLOWED to do one ranger-guided tour per day. However, you can purchase your tickets in the afternoon for the next day, which I highly recommend as many of them fill up quickly. Go for early morning or late evening tours - last time I was there, we were roasting at 9am. Be sure to take bottled water with you on the ranger-led tours.
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Water is a definite must-do, although I'd be quite surprised in mid-September if it's hot.

Thanks, beckers, for the heads-up about Wetherhill Mesa. I see that tram service ends Sept. 6th (we'll be there 23rd & 24th). Perhaps they let private cars in without the trams once the "season" is over. I know that in Aspen where we'll also be going, the Maroon Bells has a shuttle that shuts down after Labor Day but then lets cars go off-season. Guess I'll find out when I'm there.

You're all terrific!
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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We had read as well that visitors are only allowed one ranger-led tour a day. However, when we were there last August, we were able to book Cliff House and Balcony House for the same day. (We purchased the tickets the previous evening at the visitors center.) The ticket seller told me that this is allowed when the park is not expected to be too busy.

Be sure to have dinner at the Far View Lodge -- it was excellent.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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We were in MV last August. Cliff Palace & Balcony house are on the same "mesa". You can get tickets for both tours on the same day. It is not possible to do Long House on the same day because it is on the other "mesa" & not close by.

There is also Spruce Treehouse which is self guided & near Cliff & Balcony.

The other self guided sites are the museum near Spruce Treehouse & the Far View sites on the way out of the park.

If you have 2 days you can do Long House also.
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Old Apr 6th, 2005, 03:17 AM
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We did Cliff Palace and Long House in a single day, one AM and the other PM, last July. We bought the same-day tickets as soon as they opened the visitor center in the morning.

I have a problem with height and ladders and the Cliff Palace was a bit of a stretch for me. The walk/climb into the final ladder is built into the rock and it is kind of a tight, crowded space with someone standing before and behind you.

The problem with these places is that once you are there you cannot chicken out
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