This popular out-and-back road ride starts at the Mesa Verde National Park Ranger Stations and takes you into the park, where you can take a break from the saddle and dive deep into history. Mesa Verde National Park is known for its well-preserved cliff dwellings, most notably the huge Cliff Palace.

For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesas and in the cliffs of Mesa Verde. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 tribes and offers visitors a spectacular window into the past. Mesa Top Loop Road winds past archaeological sites and overlooks, including Sun Point Overlook with panoramic canyon views. Petroglyph Point Trail has several rock carvings.

This wild landscape of deep canyons and expansive vistas is also home to over a thousand species of plants, including several that live nowhere else on earth.

Experience it all on two wheels for a unique look into ancient history.

(71.13 km)

 

Skill Level

Intermediate

Elevation gain

Travel Tips

For more, see the National Parks Service website for Mesa Verde National Park.

  • The park entrance is along Highway 160, between the towns of Cortez and Mancos, Colorado. (10 miles east of Cortez; 9 miles west of Mancos; and about 35 miles west of Durango, Colorado)
  • Once you enter the park, the first view of a cliff dwelling is 21 miles along a steep, narrow, and winding road.
  • Due to the steep nature of the park road, lack of shoulders and poor condition of the pavement, organized bicycle groups are prohibited.
  • Bicycle riders must comply with all traffic regulations, ride in single file, and as far to the right side of the road as possible.
  • Each bicycle must exhibit a white light on the front visible from 500 feet and a red light or reflector on the rear visible for 300 feet during periods of low visibility and in the tunnel (between mileposts 4 and 5).
  • E-bikes are allowed in the park where traditional bicycles are allowed.
  • All archaeological and historic sites and artifacts are protected by Federal law, please do not disturb sites.
  • Ride bikes only on the road and designated routes to prevent damage to the ecosystem and lower elevation cryptogamic soils.

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