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This area has over 4,000 archaeological sites of the Ancestral Pueblo, who lived here for 700 years. Cliff dwellings built in the 12th and 13th centuries include Cliff Palace, which has 150 rooms and 23 kivas, and the Balcony House, with passages and tunnels.

great views of Balcony House! not too much of a hike though, can for sure do this with kids

Great ranger-guided tour, I would recommend this tour over the others at Mesa Verde because Balcony House is the least visible from any other viewpoint in the park, so you can really only get a feel from it by going inside. I'm not afraid of heights but I can image this would be for someone who is, and the tunnels that you need to squeeze through at the end are pretty small and low down.

hiking
6 days ago

Little used trail that descends into a canyon, then climbs out. Can be done as a clockwise or counter clockwise loop. Total distance would be approximately three miles if start and finish are in the same place. My route started near the "Spruce Tree House" (this is the only ruin visible and is not far from the museum close to the rim; there are no ruins inside the canyon) and ended in a parking lot near the museum and was about 2.75 miles. Don't be deceived by the relatively short distance. This is not necessarily an "easy" hike, though many have characterized it as such. Total elevation gain was 602' and the climb out had a gain of 465' over 1.20 miles which is a 7.3% grade, not really difficult. However, the top section of .43 mile had 281' gain which is 12.4%. That's getting up there. And there are short steeper sections within this. You will struggle if you are not prepared for this climb. Strava rates the overall climb of 1.2 miles as a Category 4 climb, the easiest of four climb ratings, but be advised, there is really nothing easy about it. The descent that I made had a 9.3% grade over .83 mile and the trail was more smooth so it may be easier to do this in the other direction, i.e. counter clockwise. All that being said, this is a pleasant, picturesque little canyon with little traffic; I saw only eight hikers. It's shady at the bottom of the canyon but the climb out is in full sun in the afternoon. There is a stream bed in the canyon but the steam is seasonal; there is no water in early August. The only wildlife I saw were lizards and there was no sign of deer or coyotes. Elevation is about 6500' at the bottom of the canyon and about 7000' along the top so it is helpful to be acclimatized to this already. As with any hikes in such areas go prepared with water, some trail food and good hiking boots.

This is a short paved trail with an easy climb to an old fire lookout station at the highest elevation in Mesa Verde National Park (8,572 feet). There are two spectacular overlooks, one facing north and the other south. If the weather cooperates, the southern vista includes a view of four states (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah). Be sure to look for Shiprock rising in the distance in New Mexico.

Very very cool. Must see if you are close.

Started at info. kiosk and hiked the trail to all of the Badger Community exhibits. Nice idea to place metal buildings over the excavated areas for protection.
On the way back to the kiosk, turned left onto the Nordenskiold Site #16 Trail. This was well worth hiking over to see the viewpoint of the ruins across the canyon. The whole area is flat with no shade, so dress appropriately and take fluids with you.

hiking
1 month ago

Not a long hike, just some steps to get down to the ruins. Able to walk around the ruins a bit with a ranger to answer questions nearby. This time of the year, the trail closes at 3:30 PM.

walking
1 month ago

Easy trail. Interesting sights.

Went on the 11:30 tour. I was petrified to climb the ladder to get into this dwelling, but I am so glad I did. It was well worth the experience. Our ranger was informative and kind. He checked in regularly to make sure everyone was handling the heat and heights. He was a wonderful story teller. The climb out was scary as well. After you climb a ladder, you have to grab onto a chain rope and climb up a rock that has dugouts for your feet. I'm glad I did it, but once was enough for me!