Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Elevation: 7804 - 7863 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 1 hr.
Facilities: Flush toilet
Trailhead: Knife Edge
Fee: $10-$15/vehicle (varies by time of year)
Attractions: Scenic views of valley, wildlife, wildflowers
View Mesa Verde Knife Edge Trail in a larger map
The Knife Edge Trail is in the Morefield Campground area of the Mesa Verde National Park. Morefield Campground is about 4 miles inside of the park and has over 250 camping sites. There is a nice little village with a store, showers, cafe, laundry and a gas station. The campground is only open from mid May to mid October. To hike the trail when the campground is closed would require hiking about an additional half mile to the trailhead.
The Knife Edge trail follows a section of the original Knife Edge Road that served as the main entrance to the park in the early 1900's.
This is an interpretive trail and trail guides are available at the trailhead and the Far View Visitor Center for 50 cents each. The guides point out some very interesting facts about the history of the trail and the local plants and geology.
Other than the little hill at the beginning of the trail there is very little elevation change. The trail is well worn and very easy to follow.
Deer are one of the most common animals in the area and the easiest to catch site of. On rare occasions one might spot a bear or mountain lion. The YouTube slideshow at the end of this post shows some fairly fresh bear scat that was on the trail when these photos were taken.
Local old timers tell stories of when the Knife Edge Road was still in use. The road was so narrow that only one vehicle was allowed at a time. After one car would drive up the road another was allowed to drive down.
The pleasant trail ends rather unceremoniously near a good lookout spot where, on a clear day, the Montezuma Valley is laid out before you.
White Admiral butterflies are a real treat at Mesa Verde. This one is helping to pollinate a snowberry bush.
For such a well inhabited area as Mesa Verde once was there aren't a lot of good places to build a good road. The cliffs stand as formidable fortresses above the lower valleys. One of the rangers commented that during the time of occupation by the cliff dwellers that there may have been more people living in the Montezuma Valley than there are today.
The Knife Edge trail is a nice hike to do after a day of visiting cliff dwellings in the park especially for anyone camping at the Morefield Campground. During the evening hours as the sun is setting is probably the prime time to view the wildlife in the area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.