by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
Mesa Verde Guide
Wetherill Mesa Guide 2019
Wetherill Mesa Visitor Guide, 2019 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior April 28 to October 31, 2019 Mesa Verde National Park Exploring Wetherill Mesa Stabilization crew prepping Long House which is opened May 19 to October 19. Wetherill Mesa: An Unhurried Experience Welcome to the “quieter side” of Mesa Verde. Wetherill Mesa offers a number of opportunities, depending on the season. Use this visitor guide to discover what is available at the time of your visit. Wetherill Mesa has easy bicycle rides and a variety of hiking trails to archeological sites, as well as expansive views and scenic overlooks. Some trails are open for bicycles, while others are for pedestrians only. Please check signs at trailheads before taking your bike or pet on any trail. Step House and Long House are open for visitors between May 19 and October 19. See inside for details. This is an ideal area for families who want to get out of the car to explore Mesa Verde! Getting There - The Wetherill Mesa Road The Wetherill Mesa Road begins at milepost 15 along the main park road in the Far View Area. The 12-mile (19 km) road is narrow, steep, and winding, offering spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. It is not suitable for large RVs or bicycles. Vehicles must be less than 25 feet long to drive this road. Vehicles over 8,000 lbs GVW are prohibited. Allow about 45 minutes to drive the Wetherill Mesa Road. There are several overlooks and pullouts available for slower traffic to use so others may pass. Overlook along the Wetherill Mesa Road Open April 28 (or when road conditions permit) to October 31 (or when closed by weather/road conditions). April 28 to May 24 and September 15 to October 31 8:00 am to 6:00 pm May 25 to September 14 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Wetherill Mesa Information Kiosk (Open May 19 to October 19) The Wetherill Mesa Information Kiosk is located near the parking area at the end of the Wetherill Mesa Road. Rangers are available to help you plan your visit. The paved Long House Loop begins at the kiosk and leads to several paved and unpaved trails you can hike or bicycle. See inside for details. May 19 to May 24 and September 15 to October 19 The kiosk is open daily, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Picnic tables, restrooms, and sales area are all located nearby. Wetherill Mesa Information Kiosk May 25 to September 14 The kiosk is open daily, 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. Picnic tables, restrooms, and sales area are located nearby. A snack service is available 10:00 am to 4:00 pm through September 2. Wetherill Mesa Visitor Guide, 2019 Parking Lot Step House (end of Wetherill Mesa Road) (self-guided) Wetherill Mesa Information Kiosk 7240ft 2208m May 19 to October 19 only - no entry when gate is closed - No motorized vehicles past this point. 0.4mi 0.8km Food Service Summer only 0.5mi 0.8km 0.6mi 1.0km 0.7mi 1.1km Nordenskiöld Site #16 overlook trail 0.35mi 0.56km 0.15mi 0.24km 0.25mi 0.4km 0.25mi 0.4km Lo (tour ticket required) - no entry before or after tours - p oo eL us Ho Long House May 19 to October 19 only 0.2mi 0.32km ng 0.2mi 0.32km Badger House Community trail Long House overlook trail 1.0mi 1.6km 0.9mi 1.4km Long House Loop paved trail (5mi/10km) Kodak House overlook trail Long House Loop paved trail Cliff dwelling open to public when ranger is present Trail Mesa top dwelling open to public Cliff dwelling overlook Information kiosk Restrooms MV Shaded picnic area Food service Wi-Fi Mileages Long House Loop paved trail Badger House Community trail From trailhead at restrooms From kiosk, via trail Nordenskiöld Site #16 trail from trailhead Long House and Kodak House Overlook trails 5 mile loop 1 mile round-trip 2.25 miles round-trip 1 mile round-trip 0.15 mile round-trip From Kiosk to: Badger House Community (trailhead at restrooms) via trail 0.6 mile one-way via road 1.25 miles one-way Step House 1 mile round-trip loop Nordenskiöld Site #16 Overlook 2.0 miles round-trip From Kiosk to: Long House Overlook trailhead, via road 1.5 miles one-way Kodak House Overlook trailhead, via road 2.25 miles one-way From Kodak House Overlook trailhead to: Badger House Community restrooms via road, east side 1.55 miles, one-way Please follow Leave No Trace principles. Stay on trails and pack out your trash. Bicyclists, you are sharing the trails with pedestrians. Please yield to pedestrians. Wetherill Mesa Visitor Guide, 2019 Things to Do • The 5-mile (8 km) Long House Loop (paved) is great for hiking or bicycle riding, as well as leashed pets, and is wheelchair accessible. Bike racks are provided at trailheads; we recommend you wear helmets and lock your bikes. • Hike or ride your bicycle to the trailhead for the Kodak House overlook (about 2.25 miles [3.6 km] from kiosk on the Long House Loop) or Long House overlook (about 1.5 miles [2.4 km] from kiosk on the Long House Loop). Park your bikes at the trailheads, then take short 0.15 mile (0.24 km) walks to the overlooks. • Have a picnic at one of the shaded tables located near the kiosk, or along the Long House Loop whenever you’re ready. Remember: food and drinks (other than water) are not permitted in any of the archeological sites. Crumbs attract burrowing animals which destroy archeological information. Please pack out all trash. • The Badger House Community Trail begins at the kiosk and heads south, gently dropping in elevation. After passing the junction to Nordenskiöld Site #16 trail and crossing the Long House Loop, the trail winds through four mesa top archeological sites. Your walk through this area is a journey through 600 years of prehistory, with signs explaining each site. Round-trip from kiosk via trail is about 2.25 miles (3.6 km). • The Nordenskiöld Site #16 Trail leads to an overlook of the Nordenskiöld Site #16 cliff dwelling. Guided by members of the Wetherill family, Gustav Nordenskiöld photographed and documented many archeological sites and eventually concluded that the modern Hopi and the ancient Mesa Verde inhabitants were closely related. Round-trip from kiosk is two miles (3.2 km); elevation change is about 87 feet (27 m). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step House - Self Guided Long House - Ranger Guided Hike to Step House and explore two separate construction periods in the same alcove: early Basketmaker pithouses built about 620 CE, and a masonry pueblo dating to 1226 CE. You must join a ranger-guided hike to visit Long House. Tickets cost $5.00 per person at the Visitor Center. Long House is a large cliff dwelling that includes 150 rooms and 21 kivas. The two-hour tour involves hiking 2.25 miles (3.6 km) round-trip with steep switchbacks, stairs, and two 15-foot (4.6 m) ladders. The tour ends at the Long House trailhead, giving you the option of exploring more of Wetherill Mesa on your own. Tour begins at the kiosk. Allow 45 minutes to one hour for the 100-foot (30 m) descent and ascent on a winding path. Total walking distance is about one mile (1.6 km). The loop trail begins near the kiosk. A ranger is available for questions. •April 28 to May 18: Closed •May 19 to May 24 Open 9:15 am to 3:45 pm •May 25 to September 14 Open 9:00 am to 3:45 pm •September 15 to October 19 Open 9:15 am to 3:45 pm •October 20: Closed for the season •April 28 to May 18: Closed •May 19 to May 24 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm •May 25 to September 14 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm •September 15 to October 19 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm •October 20: Closed for the season Wetherill Mesa Visitor Guide, 2019 Protect Yourself, Protect the Park Wetherill Mesa is remote, so be prepared and plan ahead for your safety and comfort. Services are limited at Wetherill Mesa and cell service is patchy. You are more likely to get a connection in locations near overlooks. Call 911 or find a ranger in an emergency. Wetherill Mesa is a day-use only area. The gate across the Wetherill Mesa Road at Far View is open: •8:00 am to 6:00 pm •8:00 am to 7:00 pm April 28 to May 24 and September 15 to October 31 May 25 to September 14 *Be sure to allow at least 30 minutes of driving time to exit the gate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To Have a Safe and Enjoyable Visit, You are Responsible for Knowing and Following Park Rules. • Services are limited at Wetherill Mesa and vary based on the time of year. Take water, snacks, clothing, bike locks, and bike repair supplies needed for the day. Restrooms and picnic tables are available. Water is available in the late spring, summer, and early fall. A snack shop is open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, May 23 to September 2. • Spring weather can change dramatically during the day. Carry extra supplies and pack layers of warm clothing. Strong cold wind is common in spring. Fall weather is often more stable, but cold storms can approach quickly. Summer weather can be hot and the climate is dry. Carry and drink plenty of water, and ensure you have extra supplies such as a hat, sunscreen, and raingear. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the mid to late summer months and can approach quickly. • If thunderheads are building, watch the sky. Move away from overlooks and rim rock when lightning threatens. Your car is the safest place on Wetherill Mesa to be in a thunderstorm. • Bicycles are welcome on the Long House Loop and other marked trails, including the Badger House Community trail. Please walk your bikes when you enter an archeological site shelter; bike racks are also available. Some trails are open for bicycles, while others are for pedestrians only. Check signs at trailheads before taking your bicycle on any other trail. Bike racks are provided throughout Wetherill Mesa, and at all trailheads; we recommend you lock your bikes and wear helmets. • Off-trail hiking, riding your bicycle off a permitted trail, and entering closed sites or areas is prohibited. • Pets must be on a leash at all times. Pet friendly trails will be marked, and include the Long House Loop and Nordenskiöld Site #16 trails. Pets are not allowed in the restrooms or in the sales and food service areas of the Wetherill Mesa Information Kiosk. Please clean up after your pet. A number of pet waste stations are available along the trails. • All archeological sites and artifacts are protected at Mesa Verde. Do not touch, sit, stand, or lean on walls, or disturb or move stones or artifacts. Entering closed sites, collecting artifacts or disturbing archeological sites is illegal. Collecting plants, stones, or any natural item is also illegal. Mesa Verde National Park is protected as a legacy for future generations; please do your part. • Do not eat or smoke in any of the archeological sites. • Pack out all your trash, including pet waste. Please report emergencies or illegal activity by contacting a staff member on site, or calling (970) 529-4622.