Restrictions on hiking in Mesa Verde National Park are necessary to protect the fragile and irreplaceable archeological sites and artifacts for which the park was established. Hiking is only permitted around developed areas and on designated trails. Visitors found hiking away from these areas, or entering cliff dwellings when not accompanied by a uniformed National Park Service ranger, are subject to penalties provided for in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
•Consider your physical health BEFORE hiking. All trails, except the Soda Canyon trail, are strenuous with steep elevation changes.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.