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Mesa Verde Hiking

Hiking in Mesa Verde National Park

Hike Mesa Verde

When inside Mesa Verde National Park, there are plenty of options for activities. A favorite for many visitors is Mesa Verde hiking of the various trails that lead to the park’s amazing cliff dwellings and archeological forms. Spectacular views and a wide variety of plants and animals are also often seen along the way. The following suggestions should help make your travels inside Mesa Verde very enjoyable.

Morefield Campground Trailheads

Knife Edge Trail

Just 2 miles round-trip from the northwest corner of Morefield Campground, Knife Edge Trail provides views of Montezuma Valley. Classified as easy, this trail is great for trail running and hiking. Best hiked between April to October. An interpretive brochure available at the trailhead allows hikers to stop at various points on the trail to learn more about the area.

Point Lookout Trail

At 2.2 miles round-trip, the Point Lookout Trail switchbacks up to Point Lookout at 8,427 elevation and across the top of the mesa. This trail allows hikers to view both Montezuma and Mancos Valleys. Hikers will be treated to oak, pine and juniper. Considered moderately challenging, it is a great hike to see the sunset.

Prater Ridge Trail

This 7.8 mile round-trip trail begins at the west end of Morefield Campground and makes a long loop around the top of Prater Ridge. You can take the cut-off trail to shorten this hike to 5 miles.

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Chapin Mesa Trailheads

Petroglyph Point Trail

At 2.4 miles round-trip, Petroglyph Point Trail is the only path within Mesa Verde that allows visitors to view petroglyphs. Do not forget to register before attempting to hike. This trail begins from the Spruce Tree House trail and returns along the rim of the mesa to the museum. Look for views of Navajo and Spruce Canyons!

Spruce Canyon Trail

Also 2.4 miles round-trip, the Spruce Canyon Trail begins from the Spruce Tree House trail and follows the bottom of Spruce Tree Canyon before heading up the canyon and returning through the picnic area. Do not forget to register with a ranger and pick up your trail guide!

Soda Canyon Overlook Trail

This trail begins just one mile north of the Balcony House parking area. At 1.2 miles round-trip, it is an easy stroll to the canyon edge that then reveals views of Balcony House and other sites along Soda Canyon. Remember, because this trail goes through mostly low level bushes, it will be hot in summer months.

Farming Terrace Trail

The trailhead to Farming Terrace is located on the spur road that takes you to Cedar Tree Tower. This short 0.5 mile round-trip loop takes hikers past prehistoric check dams that were built by the Ancestral Puebloans in order to create farming terraces.

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Far View Sites

You can explore this ancestral puebloan community easily along a route less than a mile long. The parking area is located four miles north of the museum. The ancient community includes Far View house, a dry reservoir, and four other villages with trailside educational signs along the way.

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Wetherill Mesa Trailhead

Nordenskiold Site No. 16 Trail

Remember that Wetherill Mesa trailheads are only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day! This 1 mile round-trip loop is a relaxing stroll that leads to an overlook of Nordenskiold Site No. 16. This trail is the quietest path in Mesa Verde. Because of a severe fire in 2000, there is no shade available. Be sure to pack plenty of liquids!

Step House

The trail near these cliff dwellings is about a mile round trip. It consists of pavement and gravel and loops into Long Canyon and through Step House. This particular cliff dwelling is unique because it features two distinct periods of architecture from the ancestral puebloans. Be advised that the trail is only open when staffed by a ranger. Check the hours of operation before planning your trip.

Cliff Dwellings

Badger House Community Trail

Badger House Community Trail is 2.25 miles round-trip from information kiosk. This combination gravel and paved trail begins at the information kiosk and winds through four mesa top sites, covering 600 years of occupation.

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