Farming Terrace Trail

Three short, stone-masonry walls built one above the other along a steep slope.
Ancient check dams built along a steep slope created small farming terraces.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
Trailhead is located along the spur road to Cedar Tree Tower

Parking - Auto, Trailhead

This short, moderate trail winds along a series of farming terraces built by the Ancestral Pueblo people. Constructing check dams in a natural drainage to create farming terraces was a useful dryland farming technique. Soil and moisture collected behind the check dams during summer thunderstorms and helped increase crop yields.

Trail Description

Beginning and ending on the spur road to Cedar Tree Tower, this 0.5-mile (0.8 km) loop trail leads through a series of check dams built by the Ancestral Pueblo people over 800 years ago. This trail is a great place to look for lizards, hummingbirds, and a wide variety of plants.

Please respect these places by leaving archeological sites, artifacts, plants, and animals undisturbed for all those who follow you.

Be Prepared

  • Moderate
  • Pets and bicycles are not allowed on trails.
  • Trails are day-use only. 

For Your Safety

  • Dehydration and altitude sickness are common problems at Mesa Verde. Drink water and rest often.
  • Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. This trail has little shade.
  • While hiking, remain on the trail to avoid walking along unstable cliff edges or fragile soils. Off-trail walking easily destroys the delicate cryptobiotic soil crusts that take decades to form and are essential to soil stability and plant growth in the deserts of the Southwest. Even the smallest impacts have big effects!
  • Please respect wildlife by observing them from a distance.

Trail Data

  • 0.5 mile (0.8 km) to complete the loop
  • 145 feet (44.2 m) elevation change
  • Allow about 30 to 40 minutes to complete

Mesa Verde National Park

Last updated: December 13, 2022