“step back in time!”
Step House is a self-guided cliff dwelling. The 3/4 mile trail is steep (a 100 foot descent and ascent on a winding path). Your time in the site is self-paced so you can enter and exit at your leisure. There is a ranger on duty in the dwelling to answer questions between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Step House can be entered before or after a Long House tour. Allow approximately 45 minutes to visit the site in addition to the 1-1/2 hour long tour of Long House. The sites on Wetherill Mesa provide for much quieter and slower paced visit. It is worthwhile to spend at least half a day on Wetherill Mesa. It usually takes 3 to 4 hours to visit all of the Wetherill sites, but can easily take longer if someone wants to take advantage of all the walking trails in the area. Step House is unique because there is clear evidence of two separate occupations in the same site. A Modified Basketmaker site, dating to A.D. 626, is situated between the old stone steps on the south and the large boulders on the north. The rest of the alcove contains a masonry pueblo dating to Classic Pueblo times (A.D. 1226).
This was a great afternoon hike. A bit harder than the Spruce tree house in my opinion but mostly the lack of shade and available benches to rest on. When we went this site was completely empty of tourists so it was nice and quiet. the ranger that was there was very nice and talked to us about the site and all that they knew of it. I had a great time here :)
Yay for not needing a ticket! Easier to visit since you don't have to tie yourself to a scheduled hike out. There's still a ranger here to answer any questions which is an unexpected but awesome touch. You have to drive a windy road out here and hike a bit but it's so worth it. Remember to bring water!
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Step House - Mesa Verde NP
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