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.
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Explore Mesa Verde National Park
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.
Point Lookout Trail. At 2.2 miles round-trip, the Point Lookout Trail switchbacks up to Point Lookout and across the top of the mesa. This trail allows hikers to view both Montezuma and Mancos Valleys.
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.
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.
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!
Badger House Community Trail. 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.