I first visited Mesa Verde National Park during the winter of 2015 (related post), when much of the Park was on seasonal closure. While more was open during this visit, some would not open for a couple more weeks (i.e. Wetherill Mesa Road and Far View Area). After stopping at the Visitor Center, I knew I wanted to dedicate a day to the Chapin Mesa Area including Mesa Top and Cliff Palace Loops. As such, I decided to begin this trip with hikes around the Morefield Campground area.
Point Lookout Trail
Morefield Campground was still closed, so I had it and the trailhead to myself. Yep, that’s my lonely car as I headed up the trail.
Early spring flowers are always a delight.
How’s that for a view?
Knife Edge Trail
Walking the trail, knowing it was once a road, made me really appreciate the maintenance that would be required. I sort of wish they would have left the remains of the vehicles that met an untimely grave.
Those are rocks in the trail that keep tumbling down the hillside.
The view from the other direction, with rocks a little harder to recognize in the trail.
Enough is enough.
The trail provided a good vantage point to check out snow conditions in the surrounding mountains.
Prater Ridge Trail
You can connect Knife Edge and Prater Ridge trails.
I found more early blooms.
More high perspective views.
Recent rains filled the potholes.
Watchful eyes might find some traces of the past.
Walking through old burn areas is not my favorite, but it really opens up the views.
There are options to shorten the hike.
Signage was pretty good, but this was one of the confusing intersections.
This was the first time I’d seen these stakes. Since then, I’ve seen a couple others. Does anyone know about them? I’m guessing a new type of survey marker. Detailed photo below.
One of the unusual things about this hike was hiking over the cars, which are going through a tunnel far below.
Once again, I had the trail to myself.
Park Point Trail
Fire is such a reality these days. It seems as a hiker you become ultra sensitive to the scars.
Shiprock is one of the most dominant landmarks.
A nice identifier of the distant peaks.
- Nearby dispersed camping is available, some with fantastic views like this of the mesa.