MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, CO
Wetherill Mesa ExperienceNatural and Cultural Hike
4 hr. 00 min.
Expansive canyon views, spectacular glimpses of cliff dwellings and Wetherill Mesa in the autumn reward hikers on this hike. We will introduce you to the story of the Ancestral Pueblo people, the environment in which they lived, and the ecology of the pinyon-juniper woodlands.
This moderate 4-hour, 4-mile (6.4km) round-trip hike follows an old fire road and an unpaved trail that crosses Wetherill Mesa. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots; bring your own lunch, and a minimum of 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water per person. Shade is very limited, so bring a hat and sunscreen. Consider bringing binoculars and bird books, as well. This hike is appropriate for well-prepared hikers. Children must be able to walk the extent of the trail on their own without difficulty. Wetherill Mesa Experience is available from September 6 to October 4 Tuesday and Friday at 9:00 am. Meet the ranger at least 15 minutes in advance.
Know Before You Go
Consider your physical health before joining a hike, especially if you have heart or respiratory problems, or other physical difficulties. Elevations range between 7,000 and 7,500 feet (2134m and 2286m) above sea level. You should plan for all weather possibilities because weather conditions are quite variable. It's possible to begin your hike in full sun and end with a thunderstorm or snowstorm.
Mesa Verde National Park has accessibility limitations for people with vision, hearing or mobility impairments. Visitors encounter rugged terrain at an elevation of 7,000 to 8,500 feet. Steep cliffs, deep canyons and narrow trails can be a danger to all visitors. Persons with heart or respiratory ailments may have breathing problems at this altitude. Wheelchairs with wide rim wheels are recommended on trails
General information is provided below. For a more detailed explanation, use the following links:
Spruce Tree Terrace Café: Located in a historic building near the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum and Spruce Tree House, this is a perfect place for a casual lunch or dinner. Dine inside, on the outdoor patio, or pick up a lunch-to-go and enjoy a picnic in the park. Open daily, year-round. Hours of operation vary seasonally. You may contact them directly at (970) 529-4521.
Metate Room Restaurant: Enjoy dinner in the nationally recognized Metate Room at Far View Lodge, offering wild game, fresh fish, and local organic produce, all with a contemporary Southwestern flare. Come early for breakfast with a view. Enjoy a gourmet continental breakfast featuring homemade pastries, fresh juices, shade grown coffee, and more. Relax atop the lodge in the La Mano Lounge and end your evening with a sunset, the moon, or under the stars. Open late-April to mid-October. (970) 529-4421.
Far View Terrace Restaurant: The Far View Terrace offers a casual dining atmosphere located just a quarter mile from Far View Lodge. There is something for everyone with a wide variety of choices from breakfast through dinner, including classic fare and local favorites such as the house favorite, a Navajo taco. An additional feature is the Java City Coffee Bar with lattes, cappuccinos, smoothies, ice cream, and our special house made Mesa Verde fudge! Open May to mid-October. (970) 529-4444.
FAR VIEW LODGE
From the park entrance, drive 15 miles (24km) to the Far View Terrace Restaurant parking lot. Meet the ranger at the south end of the Far View Terrace Restaurant parking lot at 8:45am. Drive time from park entrance is 45 minutes. With a ranger you will caravan through a locked gate at 9:00am, then drive in a caravan from the meeting site to the trailhead. There is a one-hour drive from the meeting site to the trailhead. The actual hiking tour time is 4 hours from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. There is a one hour drive back after the tour's completion from the trailhead to the original meeting site. Drive times include bathroom stops.
Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.