Because of the sensitivity of the numerous ruins in Mesa Verde National Park, hiking is somewhat limited.
Petroglyph Trail is the best hike in the park. The NPS says the trail is a 2.5 mile loop with a 100 foot elevation change. What they don’t say is that the 1.5 mile part of the trail going out to the petroglyphs is series of 5-30 foot ups and downs as you wind your way along the base of a sandstone bluff. I estimate the total elevation change to be 400 feet or so.
The petroglyphs themselves are interesting (to see more detail, click on the picture for a larger image)
The Navajo elders from the 4 Corners area have studied these petroglyphs and have provided interpretations of many of the figures, based on their culture. The trail guide provides a list of the interpreted figures. There was too much detail to try to include here (besides I threw away the trail guide before I remembered I was going to take a photograph of the list).
I found the trail out to the petroglyphs to be the most enjoyable.
The trail winds its way along the base of the sandstone ledge you see going out in the distance.
While you can’t see the trail itself, it winds through the boulders & trees at the base of the sandstone rocks.
A few views along the trail
The trail goes under this big boulder, through the narrow gap.
If I tried to walk through straight, my shoulders would touch both sides of the rock walls.
And down these narrow steps.
The trail went between the tree and the bluff.
Along the way there were beautiful views of the canyon
and some interesting erosion
The return part of the trail was much easier. It was level and didn’t wind and twist like the lower trail. At some places you could stand on the top of sandstone bluffs you were walking below a short time earlier.
Looking down from the edge of the bluff above I could look down on the trail I walked on earlier
As Sharon usually does, when I hike, she comes along and sits in the Blazer in the shade of a pinion pine, relaxing, and reading a book. She much prefers to be out sitting in the Blazer rather than back in the Bug.
That’s all for now.
Next we will be moving to Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison
and to a high mountain reservoir 35 miles NE of Gunnison.
Al & Sharon