Explore the most popular birding trails in Bandelier National Monument with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great walk. Easy.
Grab a park map on the way in.
The trail is pretty well marked but even if you go off it, you can explore and its easy to find your way back.
The ruins on the top of the mesa are not too easy to make out but still a nice walk and great views.
The second half of the hike, on the side of the mountain is the most interesting. There are dwellings and a lot of petroglyphs. The trail is worn in the rock and at times it is almost 1.5 feet deep.
Very much worth while.

Loved this! Lots of ladders to climb.

hiking
3 months ago

How amazing to experience the old cave dwellings of the native cultures! I enjoyed climbing the ladders and letting out my inner child! Great walk for kids too.

If you want to walk exactly where the ancients walked, this is the trail for you. Untouched Pueblo ruins and petroglyphs too.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy but very interesting trail with many small cliff homes to explore. The Alcove ladders are long a steep but very safe and well worth the climb. Fun and interesting walk.

hiking
3 months ago

As a chubby out-of-shape 30 something, I was a bit nervous to climb all the ladders up to the Alcove House, but I'm glad I did. It gave me and arm and leg workout and it definitely was scary at times, particularly when going down the ladders. But it was worth it to say that I did it and enjoy the view at the top.

Stop by the cave dwellings on the way to the Alcove trail, which are fun to climb into and sit inside.

Must wear a hat on this trail. There is little shade.

This trail (along with Main Loop) are definitely more enjoyable on a cooler or cloudy day. The first part of my hike was 90 degrees and sunny, and even this Texan was hot! Got cloudy and was much more enjoyable. Views from the top are great. Some of the paths in between ladders are fairly narrow, which would make it slow going on a crowded day.

This hike is a ravine hike! The first 30 minutes involves a steep climb with switchbacks. Doable but challenging, not for the faint hearted. The top involves a level walk. The final mile is a slow decent that has a narrow path along the edge of the steep ravine wall. Definitely worth the effort for the views.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is actually a 1 mile (there and back) add-on option to the Main Loop Trail. Most of this very easy walk is forested with lots of downed trees and debris alongside the path. The difficulty level changes dramatically once you arrive at the foot of the ladders to the alcove house itself. These ladders are not for the faint of heart and in the late afternoon, when the sun is low, the rungs are BURNING hot. That aside, it’s an exciting 140-foot climb, with incredible views from the top. Well worth it and a must do. Even for those with kids. However, when we went (a Wednesday in August), this trail was empty and I suspect that when crowded the waits in the ladders section as others climb and descend would be miserable.

Easy trail with lots to see where the cave dwellings are. The climb to Alcove House is really worth it if you are in decent shape... and if you don’t mind heights. It can be pretty freaky climbing down those ladders. The ladders are solid, but there’s no room for error.

Awesome trail

If you are going to be in Bandelier, you have to do this trail. The ladders are very secure but be warned, while going up is tiring going down is just as exhaustive!

Great trail! Interesting terrain and history!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful views! My 3 boys, husband and parents loved the hike. The ladders were fun and we had a picnic at the highest point. Will definitely do again.

hiking
6 months ago

Super easy, basically just a nature walk. The ladders were cool, but 140 feet sounds higher than it actually is. Saw a lot of wildlife and cool plants and trees. Went late in the day, at about 5, and it was pretty warm, but at about 6:30 it’s significantly better (they close at 8, though). The main loop trail to the left has way more shade than to the right, though, so if I were doing it at 5pm again, I’d go left on the main loop to go out to alcove then finish the other half of the main loop with the smaller ladders and Pueblo stuff on the way back.

6 months ago

Windy hot day, and ran in between shade stops. The end is a great view and worth it!

on Frijolito Trail

7 months ago

The trail was a little steep at first, but levels out at the top. The steeper portion is definitely doable, and well worth it. You have great panoramic views. You also get a great bird’s eye view of the Indian ruins below in the canyon. You also get a great view of the Alcove house across the canyon. Overall, an easy hike. We saw a lot of blooming cacti, flowers, etc. I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone.

7 months ago

Great views, great petroglyphs, and a lot of interesting caves. It was an easy hike, but I would suggest going early, especially on the weekend. I went on a Sunday around 2pm. At first I was the only one there, but before long it was getting busier.

hiking
8 months ago

Main Loop Trail is best with guild book so as not to miss the petroglyphs along the way. Don’t forget binoculars for views of canyon and other dwellings not close to trail.
Climbed to Alcove House in late afternoon, the tallest ladder’s rungs were very hot to the touch due to warm temperatures and afternoon sun.
I’m extremely afraid of heights but this opportunity was too great to miss.
Don’t look down
Stare straight ahead
Take one step at a time
Don’t attempt when crowded.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike to do on Mother’s Day! Not too many people on the trail. Cool view of the trickling waterfall.

Nice views, easy walk. Lots of history to learn about.

awesome trail........ it would have been fun to live here 300 years ago.......

hiking
9 months ago

Fun easy hike on a well maintained trail, giving us awesome views of the falls.

Absolutely loved this trail. So much to take in from the views of distant snow capped mountains to ruins of tribal peoples. The many caves were exciting as were the petroglyphs. Loved climbing up and down the ladders and they had the cleanest bathroom I’ve ever seen in a park. Highly recommend this trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Leisure hike on well groomed trail. Smell of sunshine and bushes. The four ladders were the highlight, and is reasonably family friendly — kids 6 or 7 years old seem to climb up and down with no problem. More things to see on the main loop, including a few more ladders (much shorter), and some pretty cool petroglyphs.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice walk. Unfortunately trail stops at upper falls. The rock striation is really impressive

Beautiful views, several caves, and lots of ancient pottery shards to see. Easier to follow loop if you go to the left when you see the loop sign. Get a guide book from main Bandelier sight if you go there first. Trail has numbered signs that follow along with book. I wouldn’t have seen all the pottery without it! Pretty quiet, only saw a few people. A little tricky in some spots to see where the trail actually is but worth it!

Breathtaking views!

this trail has it all. dramatic views , caves, ancient history and diverse floral. amazing!!

I loved this trail! It involves several ladders and wouldn't be great for those scared of heights! The view of the canyon is beautiful from the top.

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