As I’ve said many times now, bicycles are a great way to escape the crowds at national parks, and this proved true yet again at Mesa Verde National Park.
We visited Mesa Verde on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The park was slammed with visitors. We waited half an hour in a long line of cars to get through the park entrance gate, and a park ranger told us he had never seen so many people at the park.
We reviewed the map while we were waiting in line at the park gate, trying to figure out where we could go inside the park that wouldn’t be completely overrun with people.
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Biking the Long House Loop Trail
We spotted a six mile paved trail on the far edge of the park called the Long House Loop trail.
The trail is open to foot and bicycle traffic, and it offers a sample of most of what the park has to offer. The trail winds through Pueblo ruins, overlooks stone houses built into cliffs, and has a footpath leading to stone houses in a cliff that we could explore.
We figured this area of the park would be perfect for us because it did not include the park highlights like Cliff Palace, where it seemed everyone wanted to visit.
We drove almost thirty miles through the park to the Long House Loop Trail. When we arrived, finding a parking place was difficult. People were everywhere. I wasn’t sure we would be able to get away from the masses.
However, once we hopped on the bikes, we escaped the crowds.
Most everyone on foot only explored the first mile or so of the loop trail before turning back, meaning we had several miles of wide open space to explore and enjoy.
Pictures from Long House Loop Trail
Here are some of our pictures from our afternoon bikes the Long House Loop Trail at Mesa Verde.