“A steep trail to the summit then down the backside to the base of the Monkey Face Pinnacle.
— Dallas R
Very steep, lots of stairs, loose pebble trail.
From the bridge, go straight and start up the first set of switchbacks. If this seems too difficult, turn back now. At the top of the first set of switchbacks, you'll pass a couple of large boulders. The trail then straightens out and gradually climbs the face of a steep hill. The next section has a series of staircases and more switchbacks. At the top of these is an overlook. There are several user trails in this area taking you to different overlooks.
As you continue up and over the summit, you'll be able to see the mountains to the west. There is a memorial bench that provides a convenient resting place while enjoying the vistas. As you start down you'll be very close to Monkey Face Pinnacle. The switchbacks will begin again, at first frequent, then as you progress down further apart. Watch for a boulder with a hole in it, climb in, now look out the window. This is a great place for pictures.
Use caution on this section. The steepness of the trail combined with the loose pebbles can make footing very difficult. There are lots of slip-and-fall injuries on this section. The visitor center has antiseptic and band aids most of the time. There is a set of crutches at Misery Ridge/ Mesa Verde
The few yards of the trail drop over erosion mitigation boards. There big steps combined with the loose pebbles.
Many folks will run this trail backwards: climbing up the loose pebble switchbacks and descending the stairs.
Flora & Fauna
Pinion trees, sagebrush, Gopher Snakes.