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“Don't miss this one, Balcony House is the best tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Balcony House

Balcony House
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
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Type: Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites, Cultural
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Attraction details
New Castle, Delaware
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Don't miss this one, Balcony House is the best tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2011

Ignore the National Park warnings about steep ladders and crawling through a tunnel. I was worried it would be too much for me, but that turned out to be silly. Grandparents, obese people, families carrying toddlers all completed the tour with no problems. If you only have time for one tour, this is the one to go on. The teenagers enjoyed the tiny thrill of the ladders. Parents, go up the ladders first and tell the kids to follow a few people later. That gives you time to get the camera out and get great shots of them climbing. Catch the right angle, and it makes it look farther than it is and even a sulky teen will have an expression you will want to catch. Photos attached.

Visited August 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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197 reviews from our community

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English first
Boulder, Colorado
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
30 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Best Attraction We Visited”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2011

What a perch! The Balcony House has a "cool" factor above and beyond the other attractions in the park. Everyone on our tour group- from 5 to 75 seemed to have a great time.

Our Ranger was very informative, giving some personal insight into what led the Anasazi to build Balcony House.

If you are in half way decent shape, you can handle this tour. It is so worth it!

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, Michigan
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
48 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“More rugged that I expected”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2011

There is a wooden box at the visitors center that mimics half the length of a tunnel you must slide through to exit the Balcony House. If you can fit through it, you can make it out of the cliff dwelling. I'm large so I tried it before purchasing the tour tickets. It is only 18 inches wide. I was able to get through diagonally. It ended up the least of my worries.

The ranger warns you before descending over the cliff that the climb back is strenuous and if you can't make it, you will need to pay $7000 for a helicopter to lift you out. That got my attention. As we descended down a series of steel staircases I kept thinking about the climb back out.

When you approach the cliff dwelling you must climb a 32 foot ladder to get up to the cliff. The ladder is kind of imposing because it is at a steep angle and made out of tree limbs. Once on the cliff, the ranger's talk is informative and interesting. However, there are places without barriers to keep you from falling off the cliff. The ranger tried keeping everyone away from the edge but you could fall off if not watching yourself.

When the talk was over, the ranger pointed us to the exit tunnel. It was a lot different than the wooden box at the visitors center. I made it through but got my knees, elbows and clothes dusty in the squeeze. It ended up not being the scary part. You then have to climb another tree branch ladder followed by climbing the cliff face by putting your feet in grooves that the Park Service has chiseled out of the rock. There is a chain to hold onto but if you slip, you're gone.

This may all sound like I'm complaining but it was actually fun. It was one of the few National Park Service tours I've ever taken that actually entailed some danger and thus excitement. My children loved it too.

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Tight spaces, ladder staircases - visit optional”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2011

If you visit Cliff Palace, Balcony House is optional. It's fun for the kids to climb the ladders and wriggle through the small spaces. Bring water as it gets pretty hot down under. Going early is a good idea. Get your tickets the day before if possible to get an early start before the heat of the day.

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thornton, Colorado
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Don't be afraid!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

I'm a 65 year old woman in good health who was a little apprehensive of the ladders and the tunnel. I'm so glad I did this - it was thrilling! Go for it!!

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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