Explore Cortez/Mesa Verde - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Cortez/Mesa Verde Map

Take the trail through the canyon!! It's a little difficult to find, but when you do, it's so worth it. I loved imagining I was back in time, just playing in the canyon as a child with the familiar family towers surrounding me. The architecture is mindboggling. How did they build the walls so straight? The trail around the rim is very easy to walk and the views are stunning.

My first time. Awesome trail, breathe taking views and easy ride. No 4wd needed. A few camp sites along the trail, perfect for a quick overnighter. Already planning to go back soon.

1 month ago

Interesting walk

The best hike in all of Mesa Verde and I know because I did almost all of them in two days and this was my last. Amazing views at the top! The hike was challenging going up, not much covered, but doable. Downhill was super fast! Park at the amphitheater and look for the trail sign. I would do this ten more times if I could!

I did not like this hike at all. Maybe it was the time of year? All the trees were dry, there were a ton of bugs, and the view was not great and either was the scenery. It was a good workout, but I was able to finish in a little over an hour. Go go go to lookout point!

This was a pretty cool hike. Good views and a decent workout. I was able to finish it in a little over an hour. Take time to pick up the map for the “tour”. I did not, but if I did, I would have spent much more time here.

Hiked in mid October and went CCW. Might be easier to go CW but either way is awesome. The hiking was pretty easy and the views second to none. Like others I would recommend the guide book. It’s free at trailhead if you promise to put it back or it’s a dollar donation at the visitor center.

We hiked this trail yesterday as we have had so much rain in Durango. So glad we had the chance as the sun broke through for our 3 hour hike and we saw only one other hiker. Trail is well marked with maps at each junction. We took the first loop option using the posted maps. We saw three small cliff dwellings spaced well along the hike. We had 5 min of trouble finding the exit trail on top of the Mesa because there were so many smaller view trails- just pay attention to the sign post. Cliffs, mountains and vegetation, made every turn a photographic event. Lack of serious stretches of elevation made this an easy hike. Our 15lb dog loved it as her first hike. The soft sand/soil was easy on her pads. If you don’t see the parking lot using Apple maps, just keep driving a little bit further-you can’t miss it. Our maps tried to take us up a small road near the parking area that said no public access.

3 months ago

LOVED this trail! We liked both the complexity of the trail itself, as well as the fantastic views along it - both of the canyon, as well as the intriguing sculpturing of the walls you were walking by. If you have even the slightest fear of heights, you should NOT go on this trail. There were a number of times you walk on a (?)one foot wide path with a sheer, long drop into the canyon right next to you. Also, people of size might have quite some difficulty getting through some of the narrow squeezes. The scamper/climb up very tall stone steps after the petroglyphs can be very challenging, but it's only a short stretch.

3 months ago

Wonderful short hike in the park. Best petroglyphs I’ve seen yet. Definitely get the $1 brochure in the museum that guides you through the hike’s 34 points of interest.... always nice to know what you’re looking at when it comes to native plants, uses, animals, and historical/ cultural facts.

3 months ago

Great hike, amazing to see ruins up close without the crowds. Thoroughly enjoyed myself . Please be respectful of the ruins, let’s keep them around for everyone to enjoy!

road biking
3 months ago

The paved Long House Loop trail is a 6 mi trail that bikes and walkers and dogs on leash can use. You will see the ruins like Badger House community along the route. A few porta potties and covered shelters are also available. The mesas in the distance are beautiful. This is definately the road less traveled.

Watch out for cougars.

off road driving
4 months ago

Easy scenic drive. 4WD not needed if road is dry.

4 months ago

Worth doing while you are in the park! A nice and relatively shady loop along the middle rim of a canyon, starting near Spruce Tree House. The petroglyphs really aren't that much to write home about compared to others in the general area, but petroglyphs are always exciting to see. I was more enamored with the trail itself. It's sort of rocky and jaunty - a fun hike that loops back and drops you near the museum and parking area up on top. It might not be a great option for folks who aren't in good physical shape. There are a couple of little points where you have to climb up a little on some rocks and it is somewhat vertical or steep, though most of the trail is quite tame.

4 months ago

This is a popular local trail. Sometimes it can be hard to find parking at the Sand Canyon entrance (mostly on the weekends). This is a great place to stop off if you are visiting and want to get a taste of the area without getting too far out there. If you enter from the Sand Canyon side, you will pass a hogan up at to the right of the first sandstone slab that you walk up out of the parking area. There are archeological sites littering the whole area. It does not take much effort to spot the countless walls remaining in the caves and overhangs you will see along the trail. Keep an eye out, and you are sure to see some ruins. They are out in the open for the public to enjoy, but nonetheless marvelous archeological sites, so please remember to respect them and help preserve them.

Short, but nice walk.

Short hike out to view the cliff dwellings with a toddler. Also spotted a black bear in the creek below us which was really neat!

4 months ago

First of all I want to say that we got a late start on this trail and only went 3 of the 7 miles in and then back out. The trail is well marked and quite easy to follow. The three miles that we hiked provided several opportunities to view ancient cliff dwellings both up close and in the distance across the canyon. The Canyons of The Ancients is an amazing place and this trail invites you to imagine what it may have been like to live in this area thousands of years ago. The pinion/juniper landscape is healthy all through the canyon and I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities to view wildlife if your quiet during your hike. We recently moved to the four corners area and I'm sure we will be back to walk the entire trail when the weather cools

This is what I would expect a hike to be. Moderate. Fairly remote, easy yet a variety of terrain, and many places to stop and enjoy the views or ruins. There is one place to be able to stop and see a small portion of ruins up close about a quarter or the way through the hike and glyphs almost half way.

Depending on the way you go, you will have to do a little “rock climbing” or descending half way through, I did it on a sprained ankle but obviously wouldn’t recommend that to others although it can be done. In good health though I would recommend to anyone.

Set your expectations before you go! 2 hours for just adults. Tack on another hour or two if you have young children. This became and adventure for us BECAUSE we did not note the trail map! A third of the way through a thunderstorm struck, it was early evening, and at that time I didn’t know the “loop” portion took us up to easy ground on the rim top. It freaked me out that we still might need to descend another 100 feet and then loop back, wet, at night, with a little kid—-and we turned back—and then we turned around again.

Going is much faster atop on flat ground. On the canyon face’s trail it’s slower because of the ups and downs, sand, rocks, steps, tree debris.

Perks : the glyphs, a great sunset, wildlife emerging in the evening

What fun! We failed to read about the 10 Meter (30 feet) initial climb. Our tentative 6 year old did it afraid —the definition of courage. The short tunnel was fun for him and mommy pressed a hand to his back to steady him for the last 15 foot climb that was truly on a cliff face.

Very easy and it is very interesting. Cool views and amazing history.

Guided tour. Amazing place :-)

5 months ago

It was one of our favorite national Park hikes. The hike guide book provided at the museum near the trailhead was helpful to learn about things along the hike. Super fun with a few narrow squeezes through rocks along the trail, cool caves, great grippy sandstone, a juniper forest, thousands year old history, etc.

I participated the tour. It's so funny. It's a good experience to climbing the ladder and pass through the narrow holes to enter the house.

This was or favorite hike at Mesa Verde. Beautiful views. Took our kids (4&6) and they did great. The views going down were my favorite but the top is cool too. We went in April and had the entire mountain to ourselves.

Be warned, this trail tour does involve a pretty tall ladder climb (guide said it’s about 3 stories) and then a few more ladder climbs and a crowd tunnel at the end. Other wise it was cool and not hard at all.

This trail was a bit challenging but very pretty. I was very happy we chose to do it.

5 months ago

Decent trail. Did just the North loop. First mile is overlooking the paved roads of the camping area. First good view doesn't occur until 1.7 miles in. Once you got around to the rim you had a nice view of the canyon, but also of the park road across the canyon. Saw plenty of signs of big horns, scat and tracks, but no sheep. Saw a few short horned lizards though.

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