hiking

kid friendly

no dogs

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

birding

trail running

forest

wildlife

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.

such a fun hike with great views of the mountain landscape. I would highly recommend.

hiking
17 days ago

Used to do this hike as a kid growing up in Los Alamos. Recently went back and it was just as awesome! Would recommend for an easy hike with fun sites

hiking
18 days ago

This hike is worth it. Beautiful views most of the way up and 360 at the top. I was totally winded during the 2nd half because I’m not used to elevation but it took 1-1/2 hrs up and 1 hr down. Nor sure what the $25 fee was that the other reviewer paid. No fee required for this hike.

Loved this! Lots of ladders to climb.

hiking
1 month 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.

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
1 month 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 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
2 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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Take the Bandelier shuttle and get off at the first stop (Not the visitors center) to easily access this wonderful hike down into the canyon. Very flat for the first half, but then opens up into beautiful vistas and tight twists and turns as you descend. Very little shade so be prepared for that. Young kids handled it with no problems. Frey ends at the Main Loop Trail where you have the option to continue on, or take a short walk towards the Bandelier Visitors Center.

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
3 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.

walking
4 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
4 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
4 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.

4 months ago

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

on Cerro Grande Trail

5 months ago

We arrived this morning to find that about 95% of the park is closed due to fire hazard, including for hiking. I have never used fire as a hiking method and find it unacceptable to pay the $25 fee only to be able to hike the tourist trails, which is all that is open.

hiking
5 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

5 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.

5 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
6 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 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.

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