Looking for a great trail near Cortez, Colorado? AllTrails has 9 great hiking trails, running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails in Mesa Verde National Park, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Denny Park. Ready for some activity? There are 6 moderate trails in Cortez ranging from 2.4 to 18.9 miles and from 5,475 to 6,863 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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Cortez, Colorado Map
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mountain biking
19 days ago

This may be my favorite trail! Climbs, descents, rocks, smooth, flow, landscape changed four times, heart rate going strong... not like home trails. This was pure fun!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Great trail and lots of cool ruins! Tons of crypto soil along the way so be sure to stay on the trail!! Very little shade cover so wear a hat and sunscreen and pack lots of water. This was a moderately easy trail.

on McElmo Creek

hiking
private property
1 month ago

Early splits up into two trails: "graveyard" and "historic cattle". Seems Alltrails shows here the trail "graveyard" which continues as "Wild mustang trail" there you meet signs saying its private property. Anyway tremendous, beautiful. Several pueblo ruins, pretty authentic i guess, unlike Mesa verdes' reconstructed stuff.

hiking
2 months ago

All Trails is showing 12.4 but it’s actually 13.1 round trip. Beautiful trail but very hot. Worth the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

This a relatively smooth trail. We did it on October 1 and it was still fairly hot. Other reviews mention the lack of shade and I concur. The ruins were awesome. I recommend picking up a free map from the welcome center in Cortez. It shows the location of the ruins.

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty tough trail, for what it’s worth I would stop at about 5.3 miles in (right after you get to the top of the upper rim) beyond that it’s pretty normal hiking that only leads to a parking lot. Stop at the top and enjoy the view. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen!!!

Hardly anyone there. Very cool feeling there. Not your typical National Park or Monument.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

mountain biking
3 months ago

Excellent loop. Lots of single track without worrying about on-coming bikers. Love, love, love rib cage! 1st time rider

on Sand Canyon Trail

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

I love this area...beautiful terrain and rock formations with wild flowers and native vegetation. I sat down to rest a bit, beneath the shade of a pine tree on the trails edge, when I looked up to see a looming silhouette for what I named "Coffee Pot Rock"! It could only be seen on the return path as one makes their return to the parking area. Rebecca R Brennan

on Sand Canyon Trail

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Note: As of April, 2019 the trailhead has moved about 1/2 mile east on road G with a large gravel parking area, but the Canyons of the Ancients sign has not been moved yet. We hiked 7 miles RT including spurs in 95 degree heat. It was hot but very interesting. Junipers offer limited shade stops. I drank all 100oz on our 3:30 hike.

hiking
over grown
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

I did this backwards according to the description. So I started off Road N. went to the second ruin about 3.25 miles in then turned around. If you start it from the other side I would not go up the switch backs. The ruins are definitely the highlight of the hike. Bring lots of water, try to start early. Did with my dog

hiking
6 months ago

Really fun trail with lots of cool ruins to see. Not to challenging for the first 4 miles.

hiking
6 months ago

Killer trail!! Lots of ruins, sunshine, lizards, and one creepy snake!

hiking
6 months ago

Not much to see.

hiking
6 months ago

We had a nice hike. I'm not in shape to do the whole 12 mile round trip, so we just hiked in about 2.5 miles, had lunch, and hiked out. We took all the side trails marked with white markers. Some of them lead to ruins, but others don't seem to. I was surprised to learn later that there's an entire village of ruins around the stone butte that's right in front of the original parking area - Castle Rock Pueblo, it's called. We walked to one small part of it, but most of the ruins were carried off in the early 20th century by local white settlers who wanted to reuse the rocks to build their homes and barns and things, which is why almost none of it is visible today. I was also surprised to not hear a single canyon wren.

6 months ago

Mountain biking wonderland. Trust Loop and Hippie House have less fun built into the ups and downs but a great trail to start. Make sure you are going the right direction.

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome trail! I did the full 6 miles in and 6 miles back. AllTrails map is wrong for the ending point. Lots of little off shoots to get close to the Pueblos. The last 2 miles has the 700ft elevation gain in 0.5-1 mile of switchbacks which is a bit grueling. Awesome views from the top. The last walk at the top of canyon is so-so. Lots of beautiful wild flowers!

Considerate hikers, bikers and horse back riders (9ppl total). Sad that exploring is not an option off trail but understandable. Trail easy with typical rocks and roots.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked to the marker and back on the All Trails map for a total of 8 miles. This is where the trail intersects Sand Canyon creek. The trail actually continues further for a couple more miles. No shade = no joke. Starting before 9am wasn’t early enough to beat the heat for the 4+ hour hike. Trail is well marked. No huge gains/loss in elevation. Birds and lizards everywhere. Wildflowers were blooming, though rare in this desert landscape. The cliff dwellings are really cool and most are just a few short steps away from the main trail.

hiking
7 months ago

I parked at the south lot and did the full Sand Canyon (out-and-back) hike. The first half of the trail is easy and has incredible up-close view of Ancestral Puebloan ruins. While not under close watch like Mesa Verde for vandalism, it is perhaps more intmate, which is incredible to experience. The second half of the trail is a little more strenuous, with a .5 mile switchback of a 700 ft. elevation gain. There are some great views of the canyon in that short bit, but I wasn't particularly fond of the rest of the trail to the north traihead. The wildflowers are in bloom this time of year, though, and the weather is just warm enough before becoming difficult. Almost no shade, and I would not call this trail lightly trafficked, especially on the south end. Lots of super noisy groups not interested in preserving the natural life of the canyon.

hiking
7 months ago

We started later than planned, so when we got there it was pretty warm. We hiked about 4 miles total, out and back. We saw some awesome ancient Puebloan sites and some beautiful natural scenery. The Puebloan sites are accessible by the spur trails makers with white diamonds the spur trails are really short.

hiking
7 months ago

This was a nice, short hike. The trail was well defined and maintained.

Gorgeous trail into the canyon! Cliff dwellings everywhere & the trail is really well marked/ easy to follow. Start early if you can, it gets toasty. Worth doing the entire trail if you have time!

hiking
8 months ago

Easy hike for the active person. Interesting geology and yes, archeology. Great views of Ute Mountain from the Sand Canyon trail. My only concern is the area looks over used. Boot prints and bike tire tread marks off trail in several areas. Disappointing. Still, beautiful canyon. Very quiet when I was there.

hiking
8 months ago

Highly recommended. Be sure to try the side trails that take you off to see the cliff dwellings up close.

This is a very interesting trail with a lot archeological sites to see along the way. We hiked this in early April so the weather was nice and cool. The trails are well marked and we had no problem finding the trailhead using this app. Since we were off season there was a lot of parking available. Note that the parking lot is on natural rock which is relatively uneven, so don't show up in a low clearance sports car.

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