• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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2014 Special Backcountry Hikes

Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors opportunities in 2014 to learn more about the park through special hikes and tours. Purchase tickets in advance, online at www.recreation.gov or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.

All hikes are appropriate for well-prepared hikers. Children must be able to walk the extent of the trail on their own without difficulty.

Your safety depends on your good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring plenty of water. Shade is limited, so bring a hat and sunscreen. Evaluate your physical condition when choosing a hike.

 
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View of Mug House and visitors scrambling down a portion of the Mug House trail.

Views of Mug House and trail

NPS Photo

Mug House

Mug House was built over several decades in the A.D. 1100s and 1200s and likely supported a population of 80 to 100 people. Along the route to this amazing site, you will visit other Ancestral Puebloan sites including Adobe Cave, which features partially excavated rooms.

This strenuous 2-hour, 3-mile (4.8km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 feet (30m), and includes steep drop-offs, switchbacks, and scrambling up and down boulders. This hike may not be appropriate for young children. Hikers must be able to scramble over boulders and navigate steep gravel trails unassisted.

Bring at least 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water per person. Please, do not bring any food or snacks on this hike. Archeological sites are vulnerable to damage caused by rodents attracted to food crumbs.



May 27 to August 30
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:45 am

•Tour is limited to 10 people
•Price: $25.00 per person, all ages.

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Two images of sites on the Upper Navajo Canyon trail.

Views of Pinkley House

NPS Photo

Upper Navajo Canyon Hike

Enjoy the autumn weather and fall color as you hike this historic trail, built in the 1930s by the Public Works Administration. You will view Pinkley House and other small alcove sites; and experience two natural communities as you descend from the drier mesa top to the mountain chaparral in the canyon bottom.

This moderate 5-hour, 6-mile (9.6-km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 760 feet (232 m) into upper Navajo Canyon, with steep drop-offs and switchbacks.

Bring snacks and a minimum of 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water per person.







September 3 to October 5
Wednesday and Sunday at 8:30 am

•Tour is limited to 14 people
•Tickets are $18.00 per person

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Views from the Wetherill Mesa Experience tour

Views from Wetherill Mesa Experience tour

NPS Photo

Wetherill Mesa Experience

Expansive canyon views, spectacular glimpses of cliff dwellings, and Wetherill Mesa in the autumn will reward hikers on this moderate 4-hour*, 4-mile (6.4-km) round-trip hike. You will be introduced to the story of the Ancestral Pueblo people, the environment in which they lived, and the ecology of the pinyon-juniper woodland.

Bring your own lunch and 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water per person.

*The entire Wetherill Mesa Experience, including four-hour hike AND driving time from the main park road to Wetherill Mesa (round-trip), is about six hours.








September 2 to October 3
Tuesday and Friday at 9:00 am

•Tour is limited to 14 people
•Price: $18.00 per person.

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Yucca House Backcountry Tour images including rubble mound and standing wall.

Views of Yucca House rubble mounds and standing architecture.

NPS Photo

Yucca House

Yucca House National Monument is located 8 miles south of Cortez, Colorado. The large, unexcavated pueblo was probably built around A.D. 1200. The massive building and central location in the Montezuma Valley suggest that it was an important village.

This easy to moderate 1-hour, 1/2-mile (0.8 km) walk is along a mostly level, unpaved path. The trail is rocky in places.

Yucca House has limited on-site parking, so tour participants will meet at the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez and carpool to the site. A brief orientation will precede the tour.

Bring a minumum of 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person.







May 14 and May 16
September 10 and September 19
4:30 pm

•Tour is limited to 15 people
•Price: $5.00 per person, all ages.

Reservations are available online at www.recreation.gov or by phoning the call center at 1-877-444-6777.

 
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Be Prepared
Consider your physical health before joining a hike. Hiking is not recommended for those with heart or respiratory problems, or other physical difficulties. Elevations range between 7,000 and 7,500 feet (2134m and 2286m) above sea level. Weather conditions are quite variable. It's possible to begin your hike in full sun and end with a thunderstorm. Plan for all weather conditions. Bring plenty of water per person; minimum amount is suggested in each tour description above.

Did You Know?

Mesa top pueblo at Far View Sites Complex

Approximately 600 of the over 4700 archeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park are cliff dwellings. Other sites include mesa top pueblos, farming terraces, towers, reservoirs, and check dams.