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Spruce Tree House - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

Old Ruins

About Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House is a large archaeological site located in Montezuma County. The site includes a number of well-preserved dwellings and public buildings, as well as a large number of burial sites. Excavations at the site have yielded a wealth of artifacts, including pottery, tools, and jewelry. The site is believed to have been inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans from approximately AD 1200 to 1300. Today, It is a popular tourist destination.

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Things to Do at Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House is a great place to explore the ancient ruins of the Mesa Verde people. The site includes a well-preserved cliff dwelling, as well as a number of other interesting features. Visitors can learn about the history of the area, and see some of the amazing artifacts that have been found here. There are also many hiking trails in the area, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Today, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the site and learn about the architectural features of the dwelling, as well as the daily life of the people who lived there.

Top Trips and Tours in Colorado

Tours and activities in Colorado that might be of interest to you

History of Spruce Tree House

The structure was built around 1200 AD and was inhabited for only a few decades before being abandoned. However, its well-preserved condition has made it one of the most popular archaeological sites in the United States. Spruce Tree House gets its name from the large spruce tree that grew inside the main chamber of the structure. The tree provided both shade and support for the adobe walls, and its roots can still be seen today. Although Spruce Tree House was only occupied for a short time, it provides an important glimpse into the everyday lives of the Ancestral Puebloans.

Best Time to Visit Spruce Tree House

The best time to visit the site is from late spring to early fall, when the weather is mild and there is no snow on the ground. During this time of year, visitors can explore the site without worrying about extreme temperatures or hazardous conditions.

Tips for Visiting Spruce Tree House

  1. Arrive early: Spruce Tree House is one of the most popular attractions in Mesa Verde, so it's best to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds.
  2.  Talk to the ranger: The park ranger leading the tour is a wealth of information about Spruce Tree House and the Ancestral Puebloans who lived there. Be sure to ask plenty of questions!
  3. Buy a souvenir: The visitor center at Mesa Verde has a great selection of books, jewelry, and other souvenirs related to Spruce Tree House and the park's other archaeological sites.
  4. . Visit nearby sites: While you're in the area, be sure to check out some of Mesa Verde's other amazing cliff dwellings, like Cliff Palace and Balcony House.
  5. Hike around: Mesa Verde National Park has over 150 miles of hiking trails, so get out and explore! You never know what you might see along the way.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Spruce Tree House

  1. Spruce Tree house is one of the largest cliff dwellings in North America. It covers an area of 130 square meters and contained around 100 rooms.
  2. The site was first excavated in 1888 by a team led by Gustaf Nordenskiöld.
  3. The Ancestral Pueblo people who lived at Spruce Tree House were part of the Mesa Verde culture.
  4. . It comprises around 130 rooms and was built using sandstone and mortar.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Spruce Tree House

It is recommended to allow at least 2-3 hours for exploration of this area. 

How to Reach Spruce Tree House

The easiest way to reach it is by car. From the town of Cortez, take Highway 160 east for about 10 miles. Then turn north onto County Road G and continue for about 2 miles. Finally, turn east onto Spruce Tree Road and follow it for about a mile until you reach the parking area for Spruce Tree House. You can also reach Spruce Tree House by hiking or biking. There are numerous trails in the area that lead to the ruins. 

Entrance Fee of Spruce Tree House

While the exact entrance fee varies depending on the time of year and whether or not you are a senior citizen or member of the military, it is generally around $10 per person. 

Opening Hours of Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House, Montezuma County, Colorado is open to the public year-round from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Attractions Near Spruce Tree House

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum

Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum

0.14km from Spruce Tree House

The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is located in Montezuma County. The museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the area. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, pottery, and tools that were used by the Ancient Puebloans. The museum also offers tours of the nearby ruins of Mesa Verde National Park. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is a great place to learn about the Ancient Puebloan people and their way of life.

Spruce Canyon Trail

Spruce Canyon Trail

0.53km from Spruce Tree House

Spruce Canyon Trail is located in Montezuma county, Colorado. The trail is 3.8 miles long and features a waterfall and amazing views of the canyon. The trail is rated as moderate and is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Dogs are also welcome on the trail as long as they are kept on a leash. The Spruce Canyon Trail is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise.

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

2.24km from Spruce Tree House

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The structure built by the Ancestral Puebloans is located in Mesa Verde National Park in their former homeland region. The cliff dwelling was constructed over a period of centuries, starting around 1200 AD and continuing until the late 1300s. It is thought to have been home to as many as 100 people at its peak. Cliff Palace was rediscovered by American settlers in 1888 and has been open to visitors since 1906.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

5.68km from Spruce Tree House

An American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. It protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States. The park occupies 52,485 acres near the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. With more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. it is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States and is best known for structures such as Cliff Palace.

Pipe Shrine House

Pipe Shrine House

6.13km from Spruce Tree House

The Pipe Shrine House, located in Montezuma County, Colorado, is a unique and fascinating archaeological site. believed to have been built by the Anasazi people around 1200 AD, the structure is thought to have been used for ceremonial purposes. The most impressive feature of the site is the large number of pipes that have been found inside the home. Many of these pipes are decorated with images of animals, humans, and other symbols.

Yucca House National Monument

Yucca House National Monument

19.15km from Spruce Tree House

Yucca House National Monument is located in Montezuma County, Colorado. It was established as a National Monument in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument consists of a large number of Ancestral Puebloan ruins, including the largest concentration of masonry dwellings in the Southwest United States. The site is believed to have been occupied between 1050 and 1300 AD. Today, the monument is open to the public for tours and educational programs.

Discover More Attractions in Montezuma County, Home of Spruce Tree House

Montezuma County

Montezuma County

13 attractions

Montezuma County in southwestern Colorado is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the state. From the snow-capped peaks of the San Juan Mountains to the red rocks of Mesa Verde National Park, there is no shortage of natural beauty to explore. Not to mention, the county is also home to a wealth of history and culture. A visit to Montezuma County is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Location of Spruce Tree House


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