MESA VERDE – Mesa Verde National Park is again offering a series of unique ranger-guided educational experiences in 2014.
Tickets for these special hikes are limited and must be purchased online at www.recreation.gov.
Ranger-guided hikes and programs include a half- day hike into Upper Navajo Canyon, a 2-hour hike to Mug House, a half-day hike on Wetherill Mesa, and four tours of Yucca House National Monument.
In addition, tickets for Twilight Tours of Cliff Palace, which feature a historical figure from the past, and a new photography tour at Cliff Palace will be offered on-line. Check the website for more detailed descriptions of each program.
Named for three mugs tied together with yucca rope found hanging inside one of its rooms, Mug House was built over several decades in the A.D. 1100s and 1200s and likely supported a population of 80 to 100 people.
This strenuous 2-hour, 3-mile (4.8km) round-trip hike follows an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 100 feet (30m), and includes steep drop-offs, switchbacks, and scrambling up and down boulders.
Mug House is available from May 27 to Aug. 30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Tickets cost $25 per person, and group size is limited to 10 people per hike.
Yucca House National Monument
Four ranger-guided tours to Yucca House National Monument are offered this year. Yucca House is a large, unexcavated pueblo that was probably built around A.D. 1200.
Tours are scheduled on Wednesday, May 14 and Friday, May 16, and on Wednesday, Sept. 10, and Friday, Sept. 19.
This easy to moderate 1-hour,½-mile (0.8 km) walk is along a mostly level, unpaved path.
Tickets cost $5 per person, and group size is limited.
Upper Navajo Canyon
Enjoy the autumn weather and fall color as you hike this historic trail, built in the 1930s by the Public Works Administration.
Hikers will view Pinkley House and other small alcove sites, and experience two natural communities as they descend from the drier mesa top to the mountain chaparral in the canyon bottom.
This moderate 4-hour, 4-mile (6.4km) round-trip hike is along an unpaved, uneven trail that descends 760 feet (232 m) into upper Navajo Canyon, with steep drop-offs and switchbacks.
This hike is offered Wednesdays and Sundays, from Sept. 3 to Oct. 5, 2014.
Tickets are $18 per person, all ages. Group size is limited to 14 people.
Expansive canyon views, spectacular glimpses of cliff dwellings, and Wetherill Mesa in the autumn will reward hikers on this moderate 4-hour, 4-mile (6.4-km) round-trip hike.
This moderate half-day hike follows an old fire road and an unpaved trail that crosses Wetherill Mesa.
This hike is offered Tuesdays and Fridays, Sept. 2 to Oct. 3.
Tickets are $18 per person, all ages and group size is limited to 14 people.
Twilight tours of Cliff Palace
Twilight Tours of offer a historical perspective on Cliff Palace and Mesa Verde National Park. Costumed interpreters introduce visitors to famous characters from the past.
Twilight tours are scheduled on Sunday through Thursday evenings from May 25 through Sept. 4.
Tickets cost $12 per person.
Photography tour in Cliff Palace
Photographers, here is an opportunity to spend 90 minutes in Cliff Palace with a park ranger in a small group setting. Dramatic sunset lighting will appeal to both amateur and professional photographers as well as those seeking a deeper connection with this extraordinary archaeological treasure. The tours are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings from May 23 to Sept. 6. Tours are limited to 10 people.
Tickets are $20 per person.
About Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde National Park offers a spectacular look into the lives of the ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 550 to A.D. 1300.
Today, the park protects almost 5,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.