There’s ton to do in Durango and the surrounding area. One of my favorite ways to spend a late spring or early summer day, though, is to load up my day pack, lace up my sneakers, and hit some trails around Mesa Verde.
Before you Go: Need to Know
To me, there’s nothing like going out and experiencing nature. It’s almost spiritual for me: I feel most at peace when I’m with my thoughts in the mountains.
Here’s what you’ll need to know before you embark on your Mesa Verde hike:
- According to the National Park Service, almost all trails in Mesa Verde are strenuous. That means that if you’re like me, you might be a sore the next day. You’ll experience steep elevation changes, but it will be a great workout with rewarding views.
- Don’t forget to hydrate. Bring water to sip along the trail, especially if you’re heading out in the summer.
- Pets aren’t allowed in any U.S. national park. While your pup might love nature as much as you do, leave Fido at home.
Planning ahead will make your hiking experience even more pleasant. Review maps before heading out, and be sure to inform others of your plan.
Heading Out: Mesa Verde Hiking Trails
There are three major trailheads in the Mesa Verde Park: Morefield, Chapin Mesa and Wetherill Mesa.
Morefield Trailhead is home to Knife Edge Tail, Point Lookout Trail and Prater Ridge Trail. These hikes cover the Montezuma Valley. The Prater Ridge Trail is known for changes in elevation; Point Lookout showcases Montezuma and Mancos Valleys; and Knifes Edge Trail is a 2 mile jaunt.
Chapin Mesa Trailhead boasts four unique hikes, ranging from the half-mile Farming Terrace Trail to the 2.4 mile Petroglyph Point Trail. If you’re a hiking newbie or looking for an easy walk, be sure to check out the Soda Canyon Overlook Trail. This 1.2 mile path is an easy walk to the canyon edge and offers views of Balcony House and other archeological sites.
The Wetherill Mesa Trailhead is only open Memorial Day through Labor Day and is home to the Nordenskiold Site No. 16 Trail. There is no shade on this path, so remember to bring plenty of water if it’s on your agenda!