Petroglyph Point

The trail winds south below the edge of Chapin Mesa and leads to the park's largest petroglyph panel, located 1.4 miles from the trailhead at Petroglyph Point. The total distance of the loop is 2.4 miles with an elevation change of 174 feet, and takes about two to three hours.

photo: Left: Narrow steps along trail,  Right: Petroglyph Point panel

Length: 2.40 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Nature Trail
Agency: National Park Service
Entry Fee? $15.00
     $15/vehicle Memorial Day Sunday to Labor Day Monday. $10/vehicle rest of year.

Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation

     Jogging is not recommended because trail passes through mountain lion habitat.

See more details.


Location: In Mesa Verde National Park, near the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.
State(s): Colorado
Counties: Montezuma County
Longitude: -108.488920
Latitude: 37.184210

Driving Directions

The entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is on US 160, midway between Cortez and Mancos, Colorado. From the entrance, drive 21 miles to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum parking lot. The trailhead begins from the trail to Spruce Tree House, near the museum.


This popular trail begins from the Spruce Tree House trail, and continues below the edge of Chapin Mesa to a large petroglyph panel. It then climbs to the top of the mesa, and returns via the rim to the museum. The trail provides views of Spruce and Navajo Canyons and is the only trail in the park that offers views of petroglyphs.

This trail is unpaved and narrow in places, with drop-offs, uneven stone steps, and some scrambling required as you climb out of the canyon.

The trail is only open when Spruce Tree House is open to the public. When Spruce Tree House is closed, the gate to the Petroglyph Point trailhead is locked. Contact a ranger or check the park website at for times the trail is open. During the winter and spring, due to ice and snow, you may be directed to access the petroglyph panel via the mesa top section of the trail, or the entire trail may be closed. Ask the ranger at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum for trail conditions and to register for the hike.

For Your Safety:
▪The trail is between 6,800 to 7,000 ft (2,073 to 2,134 m) in elevation.
▪The Mesa Verde climate is dry and the summer's can be hot. Hikers are advised to carry and drink plenty of water and to rest often.
▪Remain on the trail and avoid walking along unstable cliff edges.
▪Pets are not allowed on trail.

Please register at either the trailhead or the museum. Trail guides are available in both locations.

Additional Details

Width: 12 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: None
Average Grade: 3%
Maximum Grade: 12%
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: NPS Mesa Verde National Park

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Information Contact:
Carol Sperling
Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services
Mesa Verde National Park
PO Box 8
Mesa Verde, CO 81330
(970) 529-4628



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