Long House

Ancient stone-masonry village in a long alcove
Long House
Separation bar with triangles - black and white
Within Long House
Long House

Long House is located on Wetherill Mesa in the western portion of Mesa Verde National Park. Long House is reached by driving out a 12 mile winding road that leaves the main park road just beyond the Far View Lodge near mile marker 15. The steep, winding road follows an historic fire trail for 12 miles. Vehicle length is restricted to 25 feet or less.

Along the route are a series of turnouts and overlooks with information about natural features and forest fires. At the end of the road you will find public restrooms, a snack bar, and an orientation area.

Purchase tickets for a two hour, ranger-guided tour of Long House at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center before driving to Wetherill Mesa.


Long House late 1800s and Long House Today

Ancient, stone-masonry village rooms under an alcove with crumbled walls and piles of rubble. Ancient, stone-masonry village rooms under an alcove with crumbled walls and piles of rubble.

Left image
Long House, Pre-stabilization
Credit: Nordenskiold collection, MEVE 11128

Right image
Long House, Post-stabilization
Credit: NPS Photo

Long House was excavated and stabilized between 1959 and 1961 as part of the Wetherill Mesa Archeological Project. This project, funded by the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society, excavated 15 sites on Wetherill Mesa between 1958 and 1963.

Long House is nearly equal in size to Cliff Palace with about 150 rooms, 21 kivas, and a row of upper storage rooms. It may have been home to 150 to 175 people. Some of the architectural features in Long House suggest it was also a public place where people from all over Wetherill Mesa gathered to trade or hold community events. The formal plaza in the center of the site is larger than most villages and has some features not often found in other Mesa Verde archeological sites. For instance, the benches, vaults, and a raised firebox may indicate that this large open space was a dance plaza or great kiva, similar to Fire Temple on Chapin Mesa. The high number of rooms and kivas in Long House, plus the presence of the formal plaza suggest the community was a particularly significant place for Ancestral Pueblo people, perhaps serving both civic and ceremonial functions. 

All archeological sites, especially those with standing architecture like Long House, require continued assessment and maintenance. Natural factors such as rainfall and alcove spalling, as well as animals and insects, all impact the integrity of the site's fabric. As a public site, conditions at Long House are routinely monitored on an annual basis. To learn how the park continues to preserve archeological sites for future generations, visit the Archeological Site Conservation Program.


Self-Guided Experiences on Wetherill Mesa

A Badger House Community site
Badger House Community site

Bicycle or hike the 5-mile Long House Loop which leads to various trailheads such as Badger House Community, Kodak House Overlook, Long House Overlook, and the Nordenskiold Site #16 trails.

Wetherill Mesa offers an alternate, more relaxed Mesa Verde experience. The area was designed with walking and bicycling in mind. All the Wetherill Mesa sites, except Long House, can be accessed along self-guided walking trails. We hope that you will make time to travel out to Wetherill and share in this unique experience


Last updated: September 21, 2022

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Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330



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