Climbing Ladder to Cliff Dwelling

Rangers lead tours through Balcony House, a 40-room cliff dwelling with a view of Soda Canyon  in Mesa Verde National Park.  A 32-foot ladders leads to the dwelling.  Then visitors must crawl through a narrow passageway to a steep climb out of the dwelling leading  back to the top of the mesa.  The park which covers 52.036 acres in northwest Colorado, is noted for the pre-Columbian cliff dwellings and other works of early humans are the best preserved in the United States.  Nomadic hunters originally chose the valleys for their villages.  During the 6th century, however, the Anaszi took up residence among the forests and mesa tops.  The Indians remained for 800 years advancing and refining arts, architecture, agriculture, and industry.  Toward the end of the 13th century, they left their houses empty in the cliffs and wandered away to search for water.  Their bloodlines could be carried down to modern Pueblo and Hopi Indians.