Alcove House Trail

EASY 94 reviews

Alcove House Trail is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until November.

2.6 miles
252 feet

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers


historic site

no dogs

Alcove House, formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs. In Alcove House, there is a reconstructed kiva and the viga holes and niches of former homes. Imagine climbing these ladders, carrying whatever supplies were needed, to this lofty home.

11 days 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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

5 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.

6 months ago

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.

8 months ago

Amazing experience. Not for people afraid of heights.

10 months ago

nice trail........shaded shop , snack bar, restrooms, go in the evening and beat the crowds, around say 3ish......And you don't have to take the shuttle. .....You can drive your own car!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fairly easy super cool trail. Worth the $20 entrance fee. Also, get the brochure - if you don't want to spend the $1, then they let you borrow a copy to return when done. Very interesting. You get to climb up any and all ladders to go explore. Lots of little rooms. They even have preserved some art! The trail is super crowded (granted we did go over Memorial Day Weekend) so would suggest going early. As we were leaving BUSES full of people were arriving. As it was there was a line for the ladders starting behind us. Definitely continue from the Main Trail Loop onto the Alcove House Trail. Lots of long tall ladders to climb up the side of the canyon. Slightly scared of heights so it was a bit nerve racking for me, but great! Hike this trail!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Worth the side trip off the Main Ruin Loop, if only for the steep ladders bragging rights. It isn't recommended for those afraid of heights, physically challenged, or for children (although a school group was there when I went and they did just fine; probably better than the adults!).

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Easy trail with cool cliff dwellings.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

great family hike with kids

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nice, interesting trail with some climbing around. $20 entry fee, but was worth it for the ancient history it contained.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This was an amazing trail! I had never seen or done anything like it before! I did the main loop, took the route up to the cave dwellings, and also did the alcove house. It's all connected and easy to follow.

You can hike in the cave dwellings that have ladders and I definitely recommend it. Oh and also you can buy a little self guided tour book for $1 in the visitors center, which I thought was worth it.

The alcove house portion shouldn't be attempted by anyone with a fear of heights. Like really. I had issues with it and in general I wouldn't say I have issues with heights. However, the pay off is well worth it!

I went on a weekend in August and it wasn't too crowded. I definitely saw other people but we were spaced out really well.

Definitely do this hike. It was the highlight of my trip!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Great history! Super ladder Climb! a little too busy... ; very busy Fall season.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Great, very different from anything I've ever done.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Stunning views and amazing history. It's a must hike.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Was an amazing experience for us..originally from San Antonio, Texas. Beautiful sites loved it

Monday, March 28, 2016

Awesome historic trails! We hiked the Main Loop, split off to the Alcove, then hiked the Falls Trail which is near the visitors center towards the end of the Main Loop. 7.5 miles of pretty easy hiking fit perfectly for a family. The history of the Frijoles Canyon is remarkable!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Awesome! The actual hike was quite easy, the ladders were a bit more strenuous but not bad physically. Mentally challenging for us, as we are a bit afraid of heights. It is well worth the climb. The views are breathtaking.

Monday, August 31, 2015

We have just moved to Los Alamos last year, we love to camp. Went to the campsite here. It was nice and well maintained. Quiet most of the night but has a lot of car activity during the day. Site ok, not the prettiest we have seen here in beautiful new mexico. Probably won't camp here again. But did it once!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The historical significance and cliff dwellings were very interesting and combined with falls trail for a longer hike made a great day. If you arrive before 9 am you can drive your vehicle in , otherwise shuttle necessary during summer months.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Was a nice little trail. Went to Frijole Falls, wasn't too much water falling at the time. Nice wildflowers. But overall a nice hike.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great area to spend two or three days hiking. Watch the heat in the summer, carry plenty of water.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great site, nice hike, do recommend, plan on spending the day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Climbing the 4 set of ladders was so much fun, it might look challenging but you will be so lost in the beautiful views that you wont realize that its tough at all. Bad news was the path leading to Alcove house cliff - it was pure white sand, and sand is not the easiest thing to walk on, i think after the flooding, the original trail was never restored!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Great hike with lots of historical content. My wife and our eight year old and two year old boys joined us on the trail. Eight year old loved climbing to the top of the Alcove House and seeing the kiva. Will definitely do again in the future. The drive up is amazing as well, make sure to add enough time to enjoy Soda Dam and Battleship Rock.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Upper Falls trail is great, they had some flooding Sep 13, 2013 so the trail has changed. There is a crossing with two 12"wide planks and further down stream the crossing is wet. You have to cross through the water. You can still hike to the upper falls, but they have closed the rest of the trail down to the Rio Grande. Some amazing views, even with the flood "damage"

Monday, March 18, 2013

Visited in May 1968. A good example of Indian life hundreds of years ago.

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