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.

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

4 days 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
17 days 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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

on Cerro Grande Trail

2 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
2 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

2 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.

2 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
3 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
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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.

3 months ago

Great way to check out the Pueblo ruins. Don’t go on a gusty day; the switchbacks can be dangerous, but a very well maintained hike and you can hit the visitors center too.

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

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike from campground to the visitors center. The views of the canyon are incredible! The trail is well maintained and not difficult.

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.

Beautiful views at the top of all the nearby mountain ranges and the Valles Caldera Park. I wasn’t used to the altitude and the incline is unrelenting. I had to stop every 10-20 yards near the top to catch my breath. I didn’t quite realize how steep it was until I headed back down and really had to watch my step. I’m still a pretty novice hiker, and it took me about 2-2.5 hours up (lots of breaks) and 1 hour back down. I’m not sure I would do this one again unless I more acclimated to the altitude, but it was worth it at least once for the great views which start about halfway up.

hiking
4 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
5 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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