Manitou Cliff Dwellings

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are as much a part of Colorado as the Rocky Mountains, and just as iconic. It is located at 10 Cliff Rd, Manitou Springs, CO 80829. They’re also one of the most unique attractions in the state, offering visitors a glimpse into life among Native Americans centuries ago. The cliff dwellings aren’t owned or operated by any particular tribe, but they’re managed by the Ute Mountain Tribe of Southern Ute Indians. If you have time to explore them during a road trip or day trip from Denver, they’re well worth an afternoon or evening. If you visit them at the right time of year, you can see them lit up at night and under snow-capped skies for even more beauty.

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How to Visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

To get to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, you’ll need to take U.S. Highway 24 (aka. the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway) to the Leupp exit. Turn right at the stop sign and continue for about 4 miles to the Manitou Road entrance. You can also take Exit 322 from Interstate 70, but you’ll want to keep going for about 4 miles until you see the entrance on the right. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are free to visit, but you’ll need a parking pass from the Ute Mountain Tribal Government. You’ll also need to buy a $5 day pass , which is good for 7 days from the time you purchase it.

Things to do at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Visitors can walk to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, or they can take a guided tour of the site. There are also ranger programs available during the summer. Visitors can also enjoy mountain biking and hiking in the area, or they can take a guided tour of the area’s lakes and wildlife.

How long does it take to visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings?

If you’re planning a road trip, you can visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings from June 1 to October 31. That’s during the height of the summer months, so expect crowded conditions. You can also visit in the winter, but you may want to visit the day use area and visitor center first to see if it’s open. If you’re visiting in the summer, your day will probably be spent walking to the cliff dwellings and exploring them. If you visit in the winter, you may be able to explore the site before it’s too dark to see much. A day trip is great for exploring the area, but it’s not ideal for hiking or biking. If you have more time, you might also want to check out other Colorado attractions too, like the Durango Ghost Train and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Forest.

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Bottom line

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a must-see for anyone visiting Colorado. They’re also worth a visit even if you’re not from the state. They’re one of the most photogenic sights in the country, and they’re also a remarkable glimpse into human history. While it may take you a full day to visit the site, you can easily spend half a day exploring them, so you don’t need to rush through the tour. Make adjustments to your schedule to fit in a trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and you’ll be glad you did.