hiking

no dogs

kid friendly

walking

views

wild flowers

birding

nature trips

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.

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 days 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
9 days ago

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

hiking
20 days 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.

1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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.

hiking
3 months ago

I was stalked by a gang of deer. Other than that, it was scrumptious. Didn’t care for the $20 entry.

Great offshoot from the main loop. I ran across it by accident and was glad I did. It’ is easy to accomplish because of the switchbacks. I wasn’t aware of the slow decent until I came back down. My loss. It was great for exercise and scenery. This is one of the best areas to take kids. I wish I had known about this park when mine were small.

walking
3 months ago

A very easy trail up to the very end.

I would take the heights warning very seriously. At the end you climb ladders pretty far up. It’s best part about the whole route though.

It’s also really cool seeing the history of the culture that used to live in the valley as well.

Great hike. You are quickly rewarded with great views early in the trek and they just keep coming. Good trail guide for stops along the way. Keep your AllTrails map active though - easy to miss the second ladder at the far end of the loop. Good for kids that are careful - steep drops mean they have to be cautious. Went in January - almost alone on the trail. Beautiful!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice and relaxing trail. It was disappointing that that we couldn’t continue down to lower falls. Great time to go not a lot of people!

hiking
3 months ago

Beginner hiker and in need of some conditioning so it was a little bit of a challenge for me. Some areas were snow covered so I took it a bit slower at points. It was fun to challenge myself and definitely worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Loved it!

hiking
4 months ago

Easy loop hike with cool caves and unique petroglyphs and great views. Perfect if you only have a couple hours left in your day.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike with interesting historical features and beautiful views. Easy if you’re able-bodied, but lots of narrow, rocky stairs and two ladders that make this more challenging for people with joint issues, balance or coordination issues, or fear of heights. Our 70-year-old parents (not regular hikers) loved it but found it challenging.

Well the Alcove trail is just a short addition to Main loop trail, don’t short yourself just do it. It’s a relatively light hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Arrived around noon, parking lot full and used the alternate one. In to visitors center and looked at a few loops, Main Trail decided. Hmm, so did most others and plenty visitors ahead. Temperature was great in low 50s so a pullover was plenty. Fantastic area and most pictures won’t do it justice, my choice of sleeping quarters, not sure which one. Long lines along the ladders and expect some brief breaks waiting. Glad all the kids made it up and down safely. Would certainly do it again.

We did this trail with our son who was almost 2 at the time. We had a blast. He didn’t climb up the ladders to peek inside the caverns and rode on mamas back up the hard part, but on level ground through the woods he had a blast!

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