Mesa Verde offers free admittance Saturday
Park invites all to bike and hike
Mesa Verde National Park will offer free admittance on Saturday, Sept. 28, for National Public Lands Day. The 20th annual event encourages everyone to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.
National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Seven federal agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations, state, regional, and local governments participate in the annual day of improving the health of public lands and encouraging shared stewardship through volunteer service.
“National Public Lands Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate and make a difference in America’s open spaces, from small neighborhood parks to large national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are fortunate that more than 600 million acres of public land, including national parks, provide all of us with cherished places where we can go to recreate, exercise, learn about the past, and connect with nature.”
Other federal agencies waiving fees on Saturday, Sept. 28, include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service.
In addition, the public is invited to Mesa Verde National Park’s annual “Hike and Bike” events on Wetherill Mesa on Saturday, Sept. 28. Wetherill Mesa is closed for the season after Labor Day, but will re-open for hikers and bikers on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Wetherill Mesa Road will open at 9 a.m. and close at 3:30 p.m. Wetherill Mesa Road is located near mile 15 on the park road, just past Far View Lodge. From that junction, visitors are invited to drive 12 miles to the Wetherill Mesa information kiosk where the tram road begins.
Hikers and bicycle riders can ride or hike along the 5.5 mile long tram loop road. Along the route, stop at Long House, the second-largest cliff dwelling in the park; hike into Step House; explore Badger House Community; and hike to views of Kodak House, and Nordenskiöld No. 16. Park Rangers and volunteers will be available to answer questions and point out unique features of each site. All visitors must exit Wetherill Road by 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28.
You may bring a picnic lunch and drinking water, or you may purchase lunch at the kiosk. “We’re expecting a beautiful fall weekend.” said Superintendent Cliff Spencer.
For safety’s sake, bicycle riding is not allowed on the Wetherill Mesa Road itself, because of its narrow condition and lack of shoulders. Dogs are not permitted on the tram road. Riders and hikers should keep safety in mind at all times: Bring plenty of drinking water and high energy snacks, sun and wind protection.
Wetherill Mesa is about 7,240 feet above sea level. For more information, call (970) 529-4465.