Of the more than 5,000 sites under protection at the worlds largest archaeological preserve, the main attraction is Cliff Palace without a doubt. Nearly 8 centuries old, Cliff Palace remain a place of solitude in the winter, seeing only a few visitors a day during the winter months.
Access for the Cliff Palace loop starts at the Museum parking lot, the road does not get groomed but it sees enough traffic that the track is well packed and easy to ski or snowshoe. It’s 1.5 miles from the parking lot to the loop, through the blackened remains of last years devastating fire, truly an enchanting sight now with the contrast of the snow cover. Start the loop any way you want, go left if you want to save Cliff Palace for last! The loop is a total of 2.6miles, so about a 5.5 mile round trip excursion, easily done in a half day.
- Mesa Verde Winter Trails Overview
- Prater Canyon Trail
- Morefield Trail System
- Wetherill Mesa Road Trail
- Chapin Mesa Trails
- For trail descriptions from the NPS and information on the winter trails program please click here.
- Visit the Winter Trails Condition Report Page
- Call the Chief Ranger’s Office (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm)
- Call the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum (7 days a week, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm)
Snowshoes are available at the visitor center. Remember NO WALKING on the trail, and please leave the pups at home for this adventure.