hiking

kid friendly

no dogs

walking

views

wild flowers

birding

nature trips

trail running

Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities. Life in Bandelier The Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE. They built homes carved from the volcanic tuff and planted crops in mesatop fields. Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet, supplemented by native plants and meat from deer, rabbit, and squirrel. Domesticated turkeys were used for both their feathers and meat while dogs assisted in hunting and provided companionship. Moving On By 1550, the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from this area to pueblos along the Rio Grande. After over 400 years the land here could no longer support the people and a severe drought added to what were already becoming difficult times. Oral traditions tell us where the people went and who their descendents are. The people of Cochiti Pueblo, located just south and east along the Rio Grande, are the most direct descendents of the Ancestral Pueblo people who built homes in Frijoles Canyon. Likewise, San Ildefonso is most closely linked to Tsankawi.

Cool ruins, $20 parking was unexpected.

hiking
3 days ago

Fairly easy super cool trail. Worth the $20 entrance fee. Also, get the brochure - if you don't want to spend the $1, then they let you borrow a copy to return when done. Very interesting. You get to climb up any and all ladders to go explore. Lots of little rooms. They even have preserved some art! The trail is super crowded (granted we did go over Memorial Day Weekend) so would suggest going early. As we were leaving BUSES full of people were arriving. As it was there was a line for the ladders starting behind us. Definitely continue from the Main Trail Loop onto the Alcove House Trail. Lots of long tall ladders to climb up the side of the canyon. Slightly scared of heights so it was a bit nerve racking for me, but great! Hike this trail!

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

Moderate hike with awesome 360 views at the top!

Worth the side trip off the Main Ruin Loop, if only for the steep ladders bragging rights. It isn't recommended for those afraid of heights, physically challenged, or for children (although a school group was there when I went and they did just fine; probably better than the adults!).

Mesa Verde National Park may be the crown jewel of pueblos, but Bandelier provides a more intimate experience. I found myself behind two touring school groups, which made it frustrating to navigate the narrow paths and ladders to the pueblos. But, after hearing the kids' enthusiastic responses to the caves and listening to their imaginations go wild as they imagined their lives way back when made me feel like a kid again too. Definitely a stop for those with children.

hiking
11 days ago

Very cool ruins. Enjoyed with the kids.

hiking
12 days ago

Short and sweet nature walk. You get a nice view of the waterfall but can't get any closer. The trail is closed to the lower falls and Rio Grande, which is too bad because it looks super nice down there!

hiking
20 days ago

This is a popular park, and it can be crowded. Be sure to hike all the way out to the farthest point on the main loop trail to climb the 140 feet of ladders to the ceremonial alcove cave. It is worth it. We were caught in a thunderstorm, but that only made the experience more fun. The history of the ancient Pueblo people is fascinating.

I took the shuttle to Bandaleir and got dropped off at the trailhead. Hiked this trail down to the main entrance and took the shuttle back to my car when i was ready to leave. If you are camping there i can understand why you would hike there and back, otherwise i would recommend just hiking one way.