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Balcony House

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Balcony House is the most adventurous tour available at Mesa Verde National Park. You can explore the cliff dwellings through tunnels and ladders, some of which are the original ways the Ancestral Pueblo people would have come and gone as they lived there. There is an excellent virtual summary video that the NPS created. I would recommend this before you go or to learn more about it.


Balcony House is located in the Cliff Palace Loop. There is a parking area, but it is on the same side of the canyon and can’t be seen without going on the Ranger-Led Tour. These can be booked two weeks prior, beginning at 8:00 am MST on The tours are available May-October. They are extremely popular, so be sure to book as close to 8:00 am 14-days ahead. The Balcony House Tour costs $8 per person. Kids should be able to independently climb ladders on this tour.

Balcony House

Balcony House is a very interactive tour. You get to go through the actual dwelling, using the doorways and passageways the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived there would have used. This one involves climbing ladders and crawling through short tunnels. Meet the ranger at the sign by the benches. Together the group will go down the pathways and stairs along the cliff edge. The ranger gives fascinating information.

There is a 32-foot ladder that will need to be climbed. My husband has a fear of heights, but neither he nor any of my kids (8-17 years-old) had trouble.

The Balcony House has 38 rooms and about 30 people lived here. It was a great tour and I would highly recommend it.

There are two kivas in Balcony House.

Balcony House is very well-preserved.

This view shows the cliff.

When it’s time to leave, you begin by crawling through an 18 inch wide 12 foot tunnel.

Then you have several ladders and rock-face steps to climb up to get back to the parking.

Balcony House was the favorite part of Mesa Verde for about half of my family (Cliff Palace was also a favorite)!

Stats: Distance – 0.4 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 90 minute tour
Elevation gain – 91 feet
Difficulty – moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt, ladders, steps, and tunnels
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – May – October
Permits needed – $8/person (Must be booked in advance)
Pets allowed – No

Other places to check out are Cliff Palace and other parts of Mesa Verde, and Hovenweep National Monument.


We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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