Plan Your Trip

A panoramic photo of the NCAR Mesa Lab showing the Flatiron mountains and a blue sky behind the building.

Land Acknowledgement

We have lived on this place we call Earth, a living spirit Indigenous Peoples call Mother Earth, the provider for all life. We have had a relationship for thousands of years from the top of the continent to the ends of South America and from coast to coast, most often in a nomadic way. We must recognize these Peoples who came before.

The U.S. National Science Foundation National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF NCAR) honors the past, present, and future generations of Indigenous Peoples who have lived here for millennia and who hold this place sacred for perpetuity. NSF NCAR is on the contemporary and traditional homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples, as well as other Indigenous peoples who have called this area home for time immemorial.

UCAR hosts the Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences (Rising Voices), which facilitates opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous scientific experts and community leaders from around the world to jointly address how extreme weather and climate events are impacting communities and to develop action plans. Learn more about Rising Voices on their website.

A map of Boulder shows the location of the NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center, which is located at the westernmost end of Table Mesa Drive.

Free Admission

Entry to the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center is free. Reservations are not required for individuals or groups wishing to visit the Visitor Center or participate in one of our guided noon tours for the public. 


We are open 363 days a year, every day of the week for public walk-ins during the following hours:

  • Monday - Friday (Weekdays): 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. MT
  • Saturday and Sunday (Weekends) & Holidays: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MT

The Visitor Center is closed two days a year for annual maintenance, one day in the Spring and one day in the Fall, and the dates are announced well in advance. To check for unexpected closures before your visit, read the NSF NCAR Alerts page.


The Visitor Center is located at 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305

This digital graphic shows an external map of NCAR and the parking lot which includes directions to the building. There is a 3D digital rendering of the Mesa Lab in a greyish-pink color, which resembles the color of the building.

A digital graphic of the NCAR Mesa Lab with labels and directions.

Parking Lot and Front Entrance Directions

The NSF NCAR Mesa Lab has a dedicated parking lot for visitors and staff on the northeast side of the building. Parking in this lot is free. 

For those who need an accessible drop-off and parking, vehicles can pull into the ramped driveway directly towards the main entrance of the building. There are three (3) accessible parking spots available at this location. If the parking spots are full, passengers can be dropped off here, and the driver can move down to the main lot for overflow accessible parking. The main lot has ten (10) accessible parking spaces, including five (5) van-accessible parking spaces. Please note that general drop-off is located in the main lot, not up the ramped driveway.

A photo of the front entrance to the Mesa Lab. The entrance has text above the doors that read “National Center for Atmospheric Research, Sponsored by the National Science Foundation.” There are two blue banners on either side of the entrance that have the text “Discover” and “Explore” on them. This photo shows Tower 1 of the building with three accessible parking spots in front and a blue car parked in one of them. Peeking out behind the building is Bear Peak with a bit of the mountains below it.

NCAR Mesa Lab Front Entrance

From the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Parking Lot, you have a few different options to get to the front of the building. When you face west, with the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab and mountains in front of you, to the right is a concrete ramped path along the main road. Take this up towards the building, and then turn left on the sidewalk along the driveway. At the top of this road, the NSF NCAR front doors will be to your right. The front doors have two blue banners on either side that read “Discover” and “Explore” and have text on top of the doorway that reads “National Center for Atmospheric Research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.” Enter through these doors. Alternatively, multiple concrete paths from the parking area lead towards a sculpture of a tree with a bird. To the west of this sculpture is a circular set of stairs that will also take you to the main entrance.

No Public Transit

The NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center sits nestled into the foothills of Boulder, Colorado. There is a 1.3-mile road and 433 ft elevation gain separating the neighborhoods of Boulder and the Mesa Lab itself. Due to this, there is no Public Transportation to access the Mesa Lab. To get there, you can:

  1. Drive a personal vehicle
  2. Bike the road
  3. Walk the road or three-quarter mile trail from the neighborhoods
  4. Take a rideshare with drop off in the main parking lot (please consider scheduling a return ride before arriving)

The nearest bus stop is Table Mesa Drive and Yale Road, which gives a 2.1-mile walk/hike with a 610 ft elevation gain to the Mesa Lab front doors.

Tours and Apps

We host tours and school field trips Monday-Friday. To learn more about the programs we offer, please visit the following pages:

The UCAR Center for Science Education’s NSF NCAR Tour App provides the perfect opportunity to explore the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Center at your own pace. The app works on all website browsers as well as on both Android and iOS devices. iPads are also available to check out from the Front Desk during weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm MT.

La aplicación para la visita guiada de NCAR del Centro para la Educación Científica de UCAR te ofrece una oportunidad perfecta para explorar el centro de visitantes del laboratorio Mesa de NCAR a tu propio ritmo.

Health Safety Measures

The following health safety measures are in place to protect the health of our visitors, staff, and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local governments. We ask that all visitors follow these safety measures to protect everyone’s health.

  • Before coming onsite, please evaluate your health. If you are feeling ill, or suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, please reschedule your visit for another day. 
  • Visitors are encouraged to wash and sanitize hands frequently during their visit. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout our facilities.
  • Masks are optional in the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Exhibit area. While not required, all visitors who feel more comfortable wearing a face mask during their visit are welcome to do so. 

We appreciate the efforts to help protect our staff and other visitors!

For questions or more information, please contact


Help us improve our tours and exhibits! If you've visited the NSF NCAR Visitor Center, please fill out our NSF NCAR Mesa Lab Visitor Survey to provide feedback.

Contact Us

For questions, comments, or concerns about visiting the NSF NCAR Mesa Lab, you can contact us using the information below! 


  • Recorded information: 303.497.1174
  • General: 303.497.1000
  • Program reservations (M-F): 303.497.2401

Contact Form

School and Public Programs Team Email