Mesa Verde National Park -- Cliff Palace Trail - Member Hike

Hike Name: Mesa Verde National Park -- Cliff Palace Trail
Country: United States
State: Colorado
Nearby Town: Cortez, CO
Rating: 4 stars
Directions: Drive east of Cortez 10 miles on US Hwy 160 to park entrance. Follow the park road up onto the mesa 20 miles to the Chapin Museum. Tickets are required for this ranger-guided hike and are available at the museum. Then drive 6 miles from the museum to the Cliff Palace parking lot on the Cliff Palace Loop road.
Total Hike Distance: 0.25 miles
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Starts/Ends: Cliff Palace Parking Lot
Trails Used: Cliff Palace Trail
Backcountry Campsites: No
Backcountry Water Sources: None
Management: National Park Service
Contact Information: Mesa Verde National Park
PO Box 8
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330
Best Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Users: Hikers
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads, Secondary Paved Roads
Hike Summary: This ranger-guided tour begins at the Cliff Palace Overlook about 200 feet from the Cliff Palace parking lot. After passing through the gate, the visitor descends about 50 feet on a steel stairway, and then another 50 feet on very narrow, uneven, and irregular stone steps that run in a narrow defile in the rocks. At the bottom of the steps, continue on a paved trail around the rock and then up 10 feet on a wooden ladder. From there the visitor can walk around the ruins of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde. After seeing the ruins, the visitor exits on the far side of the ruins by a short trail that goes around another rock and turns into another extremely narrow set of irregular stone steps that climb 50 feet through a crack in the rock wall. This part of the trail passes by the tiny toeholds that the ancient Puebloans used for access. At the top of the stone steps, the visitor must climb another 50 feet on a wooden ladder to the top. From there it is a short walk to the trailhead.




11,550 points


Trip Reports

  Date Rating Duration Hiker
Mesa Verde National Park -- Cliff Palace Trail - October 22, 2010 October 22, 2010 4 stars 50 minutes gmyersut


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