Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Petroglyph Point Trail, Mesa Verde National Park

Petroglyph Point Trail
Mesa Verde National Park

Date Hiked: May 14, 2009
  • Distance: 2.4 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: ~600 feet
  • Elevation Min/Max: 6,600 to 7,000ft
  • Managing Agency: National Park Service
  • Fee: Yes
Mesa Verde National Park Website & Map (NPS)

Directions:  The entrance to Mesa Verde is located off of Hwy 160, 36 miles west of Durango and 10 east of Cortez.  There is one main park road and the Petroglyph Point Trailhead is located at the end of the road near Spruce Treehouse and Balcony House.

There are a number of moderate and long hikes in Mesa Verde and Petroglyph Point is a great option to get away from the crowds and get intimate with the surrounding landscape.  Start the hike on the trail to the Spruce Treehouse (see these two attractions together).  The first part of the hike will take you through scrub oak and evergreen forests that cut through the side of the canyon wall.  There are many nice viewpoints of the canyon along the way.  There are also really fun rock formations that you need to climb over, under, and through.  These obstacles make this trail a riot for kids.

At the end of the first segment, you'll come to the very impressive Petroglyphs drawn into the cliff walls.  At this point, the trail ascends the canyon and puts you on the canyon rim.  This flat mesa top provides the landscape for your hike back.  The canyon views are impressive and in the spring, you'll find out just why this area is called Mesa Verde, as the foliage is green and lush (for a desert anyway...).  The trail takes you back to Spruce Treehouse and the Visitor's Center.  All in all, this is a great easy hike with ample opportunities to get away from the crowds.

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