Prater Ridge Trail

MODERATE 16 reviews
#9 of 18 trails in

Prater Ridge Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

7.3 miles
1,023 feet



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

Directions from Morefield Campground: Prater Ridge Trailhead is in the southwest corner of Morefield Campground

2 months ago

Pretty nice all around. Hiked the whole thing and saw no one until I got back to the beginning. Get good west-facing views.

9 months ago

On this day I hiked the north loop only. See my review of the south loop here. Not much to add, really. Finished with 5.7 miles and 900' of elevation gain. The views from the north loop are perhaps a little better than from the south loop. Trail is well marked (mostly with cairns) and maintained. I saw deer tracks but the only wildlife I saw were lizards. The only people I saw were a couple whose path I crossed on the ascent to the ridge. Not a popular trail in MV, but a good one if you like solitude.

11 months ago

Two connected loops atop a mesa or ridge with an out and back ascent/descent from the parking area. I did only the south loop and my distance was about about 4.7 miles. Sweeping views of surrounding cliffs and mesas. The out and back portion is approximately 1.1 miles and there is a fairly stiff grade of about 10-11% over about .85 mile, so it isn't easy. On top the terrain is undulating. I did not see any wildlife other than lizards but there was plenty of bear scat along the trail. As other reviewers remarked the trail is well marked and well maintained. I met a couple from Phoenix and another from Denmark with two small girls and those were the only people I saw. There are no ruins along this route but the views are worth the effort. Elevation is above 8000' so you will be stressed if unaccustomed to hiking at altitude. As always bring plenty of water, some trail food and dress for extreme heat, at least in summer. Your phone may or may not have service; mine showed a signal on top of the ridge but not on the ascent portion nor in the parking area.

Friday, June 02, 2017

I really enjoyed this hike! The trail is well marked and the view is unbelievable!!! Unfortunately, we didn't see any mammals, but we knew they were there!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

pretty good trail. Not many people hiking it and pretty good for trail running.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Some great wildflowers in bloom. It was hot, dry and kind of hazy.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

This was a fun hike. Once you get to the top, there are two loops, a longer northern loop, and a shorter southern loop. I thought the northern had more to offer and was by far the better loop. If you only have time or energy for one, do the northern loop. Great views all around. As mentioned in another review, the trail is well-maintained and well-marked. After doing several trails in Mesa Verde, it seems they need a lot of help with correcting their signs. It says this trail is 7.8 miles in total, but it's more like 7.4 miles. The majority of the trail is up top, so if it's a hot day or the sun is blazing, bring water and lather up with sunscreen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Amazing views! The hike up is about a mile and isn't too strenuous. From the moment you reach the top, you can see for miles. As you follow the north and south loops on top of the ridge, you get a great view into a number of different valleys and canyons. Like all of the trails in Mesa Verde national park, this one is well marked/maintained. Worth the time!

24 days ago

trail running
1 month ago

3 months ago

9 months ago

Friday, September 02, 2016

recorded Cliff edge

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Monday, April 29, 2013