Explore the most popular trail running trails in Mesa Verde National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

hiking
16 days 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

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!

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

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

Guided tour. Amazing place :-)

2 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.

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.

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

hiking
2 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.

Did this little trail to kill some time before our tour. It was kind of cool to see the vegetation regrowth after the forest fire 16 years ago.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike quick the first evening we got in to the campground. No one else was on the trail and it was nice leg stretch after being in the car all day. Not a must-do hike, but certainly a pleasant one if you have time. Mostly views of the surrounding area and little lizards scuttering around the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Be aware the gate you pass through at the beginning of the hike is LOCKED once the "area closes" at 6:30pm so you cannot return the way you came, you must complete the full loop. There are signs that say they area closes, but not that the gate will be locked and you'll have to walk miles to get out another direction if you had decided to come back the way you came. Under normal circumstances, of course complete the loop and all is well, but if someone had a twisted ankle, bad weather pops up, people get dehydrated/tired, anything, it's a bit strange you can't go back the way you came if it was shorter. More furstrating, the two rangers sitting at the trailhead didn't take the time to tell us this as we started the trail at about 5:30pm (they just asked if we got the brochure identifying the plants), would have made our time a lot nicer as we did end up having to turn around and the ranger was yelling down to us that we were going the wrong way and she was needing to lock the gate as it was 6:25pm. Weird experience in a national park, and was concerned for some of the families with young children we saw out who were considering turning around, now that I know they wouldn't have been able to get out that way.

walking
2 months ago

Easy trail with beautiful views throughout. Took the kids and they enjoyed the petroglyphs and views of the ruins from afar.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Had the place to ourselves. Nice rocky trail with plenty of switchbacks. The views at the top are spectacular.

Must do in Mesa Verde

WARNING! You need to purchase a ticket at the main visitors center to access this trail. Which you wouldn’t know unless you stopped at there on the way in and talked to a ranger. If you (like me) skip the visitors center and go straight for trails you would never know. There are no signs or information leading into the park to let you know this. We drove 27 miles to the trailhead just to be told “sorry but you are not allowed access to this trail without tickets, please drive 54 miles round trip to go get them). Which we were willing to do but by the time we made it back to the visitors center they were sold out of “tickets” till late in the afternoon (this was at 8:15am). If you’re not there by 7am don’t waste your times Tickets to go hiking? Never heard of this in my life. Terrible experience.

A nice hike going along the scenic canyons. The way has some elevation change and involves stepping over rocks. The way back after The petroglyphs is very easy and flat (you walk along the top of a canyon wall most of the way). Overall a pretty easy hike and it’s well worth it to see the ancient petroglyphs carved on the side of the canyon!

Good views. Fun hike. Last half is an easy stroll. Great hike to get acclimated. I would rate easy. Minimal elevation change and no real switchbacks or taxing terrain. Good for families

Easy walk for some pretty views. Overall not as scenic.

Great hike for kids, lots of views!

Loved this trail so much a did it once in the evening and then the next morning for sunrise. Both times I had the trail all to myself which was nice.

hiking
3 months ago

Good hike which gives you a sense of the landscape, not just the original dwellings. Enjoyed passing the dwellings and hugging the side of the drop off taking in great views until we switched directions and walked along the top. Not a difficult hike, but we started in the early mooning. Saw some recent graffiti, which was disappointing.

hiking
3 months ago

Not much of a hike, but a great informative tour of the dwellings. Some ladder use is required, but it is easy.

Quick and easy walk to the lookout point with some great views of the mesa. Pretty straight forward and flat, parking at the trailhead and not many people on the trail, which separates into a small loop towards the end.

Can be a bit scrambly at times but after the glyphs it’s a cakewalk. Beyond all beauty. Great walk.

Trail closed when we were there, but at the beginning of the trailhead you can see it across the canyon and it’s the closest dwelling without hiking to that you can see.

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