This hike was not a strenuous hike, though there is some incline. At 3 miles around the loop, This trail is one of the nicer short park trails we have hiked. Beyond the obvious points of interest including petroglyphs, the trail itself varies in terrain and scenery making this trail interesting and diverse.

Some things to keep in mound before hiking this trail, is to register at the museum near Spruce House. The trail closes after a certain hour and they want to be sure everyone is off the trail by then. Also, the artifacts on this trail are irreplaceable and the park needs to take measures to see that they are protected.

Another thing you may wish to do it to pick up the trail guide. Bring quarters. We bought ours at the museum when we signed up for 50 cents. The booklet identifies plants and trees along the way and it provides some interpretations of the petroglyphs. Did you know the Hopi used lichen to treat toothache? We learned this from the booklet.

dirt path stairs on the trail ruins along the way

The trail starts near the Spruce Tree Ruins which we visited first before we started hiking. The hike climbs along the edge of the hill, and begins to gain altitude where you can look down at the river in the canyon below. Some ranger-made stairs and tunnels though rocks help you stay on the trail.

One site we saw along the way were a small area with ruins, which was unexpected. We put a picture of that on the right above and a second one below. They are not like the large ruins like Spruce Tree House, but still neat to see them close up.

ruins close up

As you get close to the petroglyph site, you first come across a stone the Hopi used to sharpen knives. We put a picture of that below.

scrape marks from sharpening knives petroglyphs

The petroglyphs are one on wall and densely packed. Some hikers before us were expecting more that was there, so some do find this is disappointing. We thought it was impressive as did the next hiker to come around. The booklet we bought at the station was very useful and the group of us all used it to identify the petroglyphs.

The couple that found the petroglyphs disappointing decided to walk back from there rather than complete the loop. Since we continued the loop and made it back first, we suspect this point is more than half way time-wise but we are not exactly certain. Either way, continuing the hike on the loop was well worth our white. We had amazing view of the canyon from the mesa top and wildflowers were blooming everywhere.

view into the canyon burnt trees long the top path along the top

As the trail comes to an end, you can look down to Spruce Tree House, and can also discover here are many other small ruins tucked in the folds of the cliff above.

ruins in cliff Spruce Tree house seen from the trail