Take a look at Mesa Verde Backcountry hikes to be held this autumn
Mesa Verde National Park is again offering backcountry experiences in the fall of 2013. These ranger-guided hikes include a four-hour hike into Upper Navajo Canyon, a four-hour hike on Wetherill Mesa, and an eight-hour hike to Spring House. Basics of each hike are listed below, with detailed information online. Tickets are limited and must be purchased online at www.recreation.gov or at 877-444-6777.
Spring House is an eight-hour, eight-mile, very strenuous hike along an unpaved, uneven trail with an elevation change of 3,000 feet. As participants hike to Spring House, they will be rewarded with views of alcove sites in Navajo and Wickiup Canyons. Spring House is the largest unexcavated cliff dwelling in the park and is extremely fragile. Hikers will not enter the site but will get excellent views of the cliff dwelling from a platform built at the south end of the village. This hike is available from Sept. 1 to Oct. 6 on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. Each hike is limited to 10 participants and costs $40 per person.
Wetherill Mesa Experience is a four-mile, four-hour easy-to-moderate hike that rewards hikers with expansive canyon views, spectacular views of cliff dwellings, and the natural beauty of Wetherill Mesa in the autumn. This is a good introduction to the story of the ancestral Pueblo people, the environment in which they lived, and the ecology of the pinyon-juniper woodlands. Bring binoculars for cross-canyon views of multiple cliff dwellings. This hike is available from Sept. 6 to Oct. 4 on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Each hike is limited to 14 participants and costs $18 per person.
Upper Navajo Canyon is a four-mile, four-hour round-trip moderate hike along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 760 feet. Hikers will enjoy the autumn weather and fall color on this historic trail built in the 1930s by one of the government’s Depression-era organizations, the Public Works Administration. Bring binoculars for cross-canyon views of multiple alcove sites, including Pinkley House and an unnamed alcove site. Participants will experience two different natural communities as they descend from the drier mesa top piñon-juniper woodlands to the mountain chaparral in the canyon bottom. This hike is available from Sept. 5 to Oct. 5 on Thursday and Saturday mornings. Each hike is limited to 14 participants, and costs $18 per person.
For reservations and more information, visit www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777.