Far View Sites is a small self-guided trail that shows mesa top pithouses and other ruins in Mesa Verde National Park. One of the things that we really liked about this short flat trail is that it allows you to enter one of the ruins and walk around as long as you stay off the walls.
The Far View Sites Complex is easily accessible as you travel around the top of the Chapin mesa, and it is easy to find the trailhead just past the museum. You can get out and look at the first house, which is also the most impressive on the loop and then get in your car and leave if you want to, but there is much more to see and do.
When you first arrive, take a quick look at the trail map. The Far View House will be right in front of you, and behind it there is a second small ruin that is only yards away that you can see as well. Then head back to the parking lot and start the loop toward Coyote Village. After about 100 yards, the trail opens up and you run into this small ruin.
Our boys were excited because Coyote Village is one of the few ruins you can enter. Make sure you don’t touch any rock walls as the oil on your hands will leave black marks, and certainly don’t stand on or climb any walls, but you can walk through the ruin on the pathways. Our boys loved being able to explore all the different parts of this ruin on their own.
When you’ve had enough of Coyote Village, follow the loop back toward the road. You actually cross the road and eventually come to a huge round pit. This isn’t a kiva, but a reservoir for holding water. It is amazing that there would be any water to hold on top of the mesa, but apparently there was.
From here, there is a short side trail down to another ruin called Megalith House. This feature is covered to protect it from the weather, and is interesting because it seems to be a single-family dwelling.
When you head back to the main trail from the side trip, you will pass Far View tower. This is a small ruin, but it has a tower which is fun to see. After viewing the tower, you will walk back to the starting area and find your car.
The entire walk is .75 miles and the trail is flat and easy, so it is manageable for most families. We had a great time at the Far View Sites and we would definitely stop here on another visit to Mesa Verde.