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.
- Hikers are advised to carry and drink plenty of water, especially during the summer months.
- Mesa Verde National Park is located above 7000 feet (2130 meters) elevation, where some visitors may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include mild headaches, increased breathing, rapid pulse, nausea, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and general malaise. These are warning signs to rest and allow your body to acclimate.
- To reduce the spread of COVID-19, keep your distance while on a trail. Recreate with the people in your household. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail, at an overlook, or in a parking lot. Follow CDC’s social distancing guidelines for staying six (6) feet away from others. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth if you’re near others.
- Please stay on the trail. This is to protect both you and the resource. Avoid cliff edges as undercut overhangs are dangerous.
- Trails can be muddy and slippery after summer rains and winter snow. Proper footwear is recommended.
- Visitors with health problems should be warned that all trails, except the Soda Canyon trail, are strenuous with steep elevation changes.
- Pets are not allowed on park trails, except on designated (and marked) trails on Wetherill Mesa and those along the Mesa Top Loop Drive.