Mesa Verde National Park Centennial

The National Park Service, celebrating its 100th year in 2016, is essential to America’s heritage.

Mesa Verde National Park—the only national park dedicated to preserving the works of man—is a part of this nationwide commemoration. With its archaeological riches, diverse wildlife and some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, Mesa Verde beckons you to visit soon.

Make memories, recreate, and enjoy the solace of nature with us in this special century-mark year. With events and activities ranging from sunrise cliff dwelling tours to Hopi tribe dance presentations; community events to cultural demonstrations, the park’s 100-year festivities promise entertainment and fun for your visit.

See what the calendar has in store!

Historic District Walking Tour at Chapin Mesa Museum, Mesa Verde National Park | Now through 9/5, 1 pm           

An easy one-and-a-half hour walking tour of early park buildings highlighting how archaeologists, rangers, and New Deal Laborers, created the first cultural national park in the United States. From the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the NPS Organic Act of 1916, to the New Deal and into the 21st century, hear the influences that have shaped the first century of Mesa Verde National Park. Free. 

Four Corners Lecture Series | 6/17, 7 pm

Like Father, Like Son: Seventy-six years in the National Park Service (NPS). Chapin Museum, Mesa Verde National Park.

Combined, Fred and his father’s careers spanned most of the National Park Service’s existence. Come hear stories of growing up, and then later working, at Mesa Verde and other parks. Fred will share challenges from both careers and touch on the challenges the NPS faces in the future. Free. 

Balcony House Sunrise Tour | 6/20 & 6/21, 5:15 am          

Begin your day as the Ancestral Pueblo people did for generations.  Climb into Balcony House as the sun rises, and step into the 21st century of our national parks. Limited to 25 people; purchase the $15 ticket online at www.recreation.gov. 

Mesa Verde Country Centennial Celebration Evening at the Sunflower Theatre | 6/25, 7 pm  

The public is invited to an evening honoring Mesa Verde National Park as part of the National Park Service Centennial. Join us at the Sunflower Theatre for an art exhibit, food and beverage, music and memories. Free. www.mesaverdecountry.com/calendar and Sunflowertheatre.orgFree.                                   

Traditional Hopi Dances- Visitor and Research Center at Mesa Verde National Park 7/2 & 7/3, 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm     

The Lomayestewa Family of Shungopovi Village, Second Mesa, Arizona. Free. 

Four Corners Lecture Series 7/22, 7 pm

That’s How it was in the Cs: The Work and Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Mesa Verde and Beyond.  Chapin Mesa Museum, Mesa Verde National Park. 

Between 1933 and 1942 several million young men found work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as much-needed relief during the Great Depression. There is a significant legacy of the CCC boys and their work at Mesa Verde National Park. Brian Forist will share stories of the CCC as told by enrollees, staff members, and park officials. Free. 

57th Annual Mancos Days Parade. Mancos, Colorado | 7/30, 9 am   

The National Park Service and Aramark Mesa Verde Company entries help celebrate the Centennial with parade participation and booths. Free. 

Escalante Days | 8/12-13, 9 am      

The National Park Service and Aramark Mesa Verde Company entries help celebrate the Centennial with parade participation and booth. Free. 

Four Corners Lecture Series | 8/19, 7 pm

Happy Birthday National Park Service: One Hundred Years of Birth and Growth of America’s Best Idea. Chapin Mesa Museum, Mesa Verde National Park.      

Did you know the first park rangers were Buffalo Soldiers?  Larry Gore will share fascinating stories about the agency that was created in l916 to administer and protect our nation’s treasures. Free. 

Founder’s Day: Curation Tours – Visitor & Research Center | 8/25,  9 am & 3 pm 

“Behind-the-scenes” tours focusing on the artifacts and archives associated with Mesa Verde.  Come learn about interesting people from the past who helped shape Mesa Verde National Park. Limited to 10 people. 

Founder’s Day: Cultural Demonstrations – Visitor & Research Center | 8/25 throughout the day

Dancing and cultural demonstrations, exhibit booths, USS Mesa Verde Crew and refreshments. Free. 

Aramark 700 Years Tour | 8/25                     

The 700 Years Tour provides an overall view of the Ancestral Puebloans. Take a chronological journey starting with the earliest recorded pithouse villages (600A.D.) to the classic Pueblo era of cliff dwellings. Free to 40 people in honor of the Centennial. Others may purchase tickets to participate.  

Geotourism Fair – Visitor & Research Center | 9/3 & 9/4, throughout the day

Four Corners Cultural, historic and educational groups, along with Native dancers, artisans and representatives from local Tribes and Pueblos. In partnership with National Geographic Society, Four Corners Geotourism promotes a more authentic approach to tourism. Free. 

Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations | 9/9, 7:30 pm   

Multi-disciplinary work by Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, Community Concert Hall, Fort Lewis College. 

Pottery Demonstration – Visitor & Research Center | 9/10, 10:30 am

Pottery Demonstration, Firing and Sale by Starr Tafoya, Santa Clara Pueblo. Free. 

Mesa Verde Fun Run | 9/17                

5K Run on Mesa Top Loop and one mile fun walk around the HQ Loop. $10 registration fee.

Crow Canyon Cultural Exploration: Chaco and Mesa Verde with Crow Canyon Archaeologist Shanna Diederichs and Hopi scholar Lyle Balenquah M.A. | 9/19-24                    

Crow Canyon’s signature travel seminar introduces participants to the canyons and cliff dwellings of this spectacular region. Visit the iconic archaeological sites of Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Aztec Ruins. Explore sites off the beaten path, and tour Crow Canyon’s current archaeological excavation site. Registration and enrollment fee required. Call 970-565-8975. 

Balcony House Sunrise Tour | 9/21 & 9/22, 6:15 am          

Begin your day as the Ancestral Pueblo people did for generations.  Climb into Balcony House as the sun rises and step into the 21st century of our national parks. Limited to 25 people – Purchase the $15 ticket online at www.recreation.gov. 

Wetherill Star Night  | 10/1, 7:30 – 10 pm 

On this night of the New Moon, enjoy an evening of stargazing and storytelling at the Wetherill Mesa parking lot. Listen to ancient tales of starlit characters of the night, and search for possible dark sky sightings of blue-green Uranus, red Mars, or the famous Lagoon Nebula, a mere 4,000 light years away. Free. 

Balcony House Sunrise Tour | 10/10, 6:30 am          

Begin your day as the Ancestral Pueblo people did for generations.  Climb into Balcony House as the sun rises and step into the 21st century of our national parks. Limited to 25 people – Purchase the $15 ticket online at www.recreation.gov. 

Evening at the Museum for Kids – Visitor & Research Center | 10/21, 6–8 pm  

Do your kids like the Night at the Museum movies?  If so, they will love this evening of fun activities, which are both entertaining and educational for children ages 9 to 11. The event will be led by Dr. Tara Travis, Museum Curator, the park staff and volunteers. Register by calling 970-529-5074. 

Parade of Lights, Cortez | 12/3, 6 pm   

The National Park Service and Aramark Mesa Verde Company entries help celebrate the Centennial with parade participation. Free. 

Luminaria Holiday Open House | 12/8,  4– 9 pm         

Traditional lighting of lanterns and luminarias on Chapin Mesa. Free.