Must-Do Hikes in Mesa Verde National Park
The best way to explore Mesa Verde National Park is on foot, with trails taking you to some of the most important archaeological sites, as well as some of the most spectacular viewpoints. Spend a few nights in one of the Mesa Verde National Park cabins and make sure you see as much of this fascinating park as you can.
1. Point Lookout Trail
This 2.2 mile hiking trail takes you on a climb to the appropriately-named Point Lookout, where you can enjoy breathtaking views across the Montezuma and Mancos valleys. The perfect hike with which to start your visit to Mesa Verde National Park.
2. Petroglyph Point Trail
The historic cave carvings or petroglyphs are one of the highlights of any visit to Mesa Verde National Park and the 2.5 mile Petroglyph Point Trail is the only hiking route which allows you to see these carvings in situ. The route takes you to the top of the mesa, where you can enjoy views of both Spruce and Navajo Canyons before returning to the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.
3. Farming Terrace Trail
Slightly longer, at five miles in length, the Farming Terrace Trail takes hikers high onto the Chapin mesa, where you can see some of the changes the Ancestral Pueblo people made to their environment to support their agricultural endeavors.
Great Places to Stay Near Mesa Verde National Park
Best Outdoor Adventures in Mesa Verde National Park
Hiking is far from the only outdoor activity you can enjoy in Mesa Verde National Park. As well as taking the time to explore some of the fascinating archaeological sites within the park, visitors can also take part in lots of other activities while staying in hotels near Mesa Verde National Park.
Although bicycles are not allowed on the off-road trails, you can take your bike on the main roads which run through the park. This is a great way to get easily from your campground or cabin to the next interesting site you want to visit or the start of your next hiking trail.
It can be tempting while visiting Mesa Verde National Park to spend all your time visiting the man-made attractions but the park's natural environment is another big draw. Keep your eyes peeled on the ground for lizards and don't forget to look up and see if you can spot some of the impressive birds which make this area their home, including hawks, owls and golden eagles.
Visitors should make the most of Mesa Grande''s location in the middle of the Colorado desert to do some star-gazing in the night sky. Head away from your cabin to make sure there is as little light pollution as possible and marvel at the hundreds of thousands of stars which appear as night falls.
Top Lodging Near Mesa Verde National Park
Best Family Activities in Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park cabins make for a great family vacation. Children of all ages will be fascinated by the archaeological sites and ancient dwellings, as well as the almost otherworldly appearance of the scenery. Take the kids on hikes through the mesa and make sure you include all the highlights of a trip to Mesa Verde National Park.
1. Cliff dwellings
The cliff dwellings within the Mesa Verde National Park are an unmissable part of any family vacation. The three best preserved, Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House - are only open during summer and can only be accessed by taking a guided hike. The trail is fine for older children, though very young ones may need to be carried but the unique experience you can enjoy at the end make the effort worthwhile.
2. Chapin Mesa Archaelogical Museum
Learn more about the sites you are going to visit and the fascinating history of the Ancestral Pueblo people at the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, where you can see artefacts on display which have been discovered within the park.
3. Campfire talks
Throughout the summer, visitors staying at Mesa Verde National Park cabins can enjoy campfire talks from local rangers and archaeologists around the fire at the Morefield Campground. These experts can really bring history to life for young visitors.