Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

This trail is 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. Good for all activity levels as long as you take some breaks after the stairs up to the caves. The Kids I saw liked climbing inside! Get the guide that tells you what all the markers mean.

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
21 days 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.

Most of this trail is an easy walk that takes you past much of the ancient Pueblo hiding that was built a millennium ago in this canyon. There are a few places where you can explore the caves built into the canyon walls. These areas are accessed by tight stairs and a few ladders. Great fun for young kids.

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.

on Tsankawi Ruins Trail

1 month ago

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
1 month 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.

walking
2 months ago

Great history and experience. Not the best hiking, but the views and information are pretty great. Go before 9 or after 3 and you can skip the shuttle and dump of people when you get there.

hiking
2 months ago

Super easy. Went at about 5pm and it was pretty quiet. The alcove trail is definitely worth the detour. If you go in the afternoon, the left side of the main loop has a lot more shade than the right side with the cave dwellings, so I regret not taking the left part first.

hiking
2 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.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a nice short, easy hike., and not very challenging. You get to see a lot of ruins, cave dwellings, and petroglyphs. You can climb (via ladders) to some of the cave dwellings. If you go an extra 0.5 miles before you Loop back, you can visit the Alcove house which is formally known as the ceremonial cave. It’s located around 140 ft. above the Frijoles canyon floor. It’s an actual cave dwelling in the side of a cliff. It has a reconstructed kiva, viga holes, and niches of former homes. You access it by a series of ladders that are strategically placed on the face of the mountain. The ladders are very easy to negotiate. However, if you’re afraid of heights, it might be an issue. I gave it 4 stars because it was very crowded and noisy. I’ve been here multiple times of the day on separate visits, and it seems to always be crowded. If it wasn’t so crowded, it would definitely get an extra star. It’s still a good hike that I wouldn’t pass up.

on Frijolito Trail

3 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.

4 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
4 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
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Very neat, allowed hands-on exploration of historical dwellings in such a beautiful setting. We were there in the evening around sunset & it was very peaceful.

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

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

hiking
5 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
5 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
6 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!!

Such a nice trail. I recommend buying the map in the visitors center to follow along with the numbers on the trail.

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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