Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Alcove House Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily 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 bird watching and is best used from March until November.

Length 2.6 mi Elevation gain 252 ft Route type Loop

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Cave

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Closed

Historic site

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Users have reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. 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.

***On day trips, during Summer and Fall (Memorial Day to late October) a shuttle bus is required to access Frijoles Canyon. Visiting during that time.*** Current visitor center hours are 900 AM - 430 PM Park is open daily dawn to dusk except: Visitor Center/WNPA Store Closed December 25 and January 1. Primitive Campsites available.

Directions from Santa Fe 1 hour each way Take Saint Francis Drive (HWY 84/285) north toward Los Alamos. After passing Pojoaque, merge right onto New Mexico 502 to Los Alamos. Continue up 502 toward Los Alamos. Bear right and exit onto New Mexico 4 towards White Rock. Continue for 12 miles, passing White Rock. Bandelier's entrance is on your left. Have your fee (usually $12 per car - see Reservations and Fees for details) ready. Directions from Los Alamos 30 minutes each way Take Diamond Drive towards Los Alamos National Laboratory, passing Los Alamos Medical Center. Cross Otowi Bridge and bear right. After passing the light, continue towards the Laboratory Vehicle Access Portal. Take any lane indicated by the a green arrow. You don't have to stop at the booth unless the country is at high alert. Continue up Hwy 501, through Los Alamos National Laboratory. At the next stop sign, turn left onto New Mexico 4, following the sign towards Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier's entrance is on your right. Have your fee (usually $12 per car - see Reservations and Fees for details) ready. Directions from Taos 1.5 hours each way Take New Mexico 68 (Paseo del Pueblo Sur) south for 47 miles. In Espanola, turn right onto Fairway. Left at next stoplight on Hwy 84/285. At stoplight near Ford Dealership turn right on Hwy 30. Follow 30 through Santa Clara Pueblo to junction with Hwy 502. Merge right onto 502 toward Los Alamos. Bear right and exit onto New Mexico 4 towards White Rock. Continue for 12 miles, passing White Rock. Bandelier's entrance is on the left. Have your fee (usually $12 per car - see Reservations and Fees for details) ready. Directions from Albuquerque Approximately 2 hours each way Take I-25 north towards Santa Fe for approx 45 miles. Take exit for US599 to avoid Santa Fe traffic (otherwise continue to exit for 84/285 and follow directions from Santa Fe). Continue for 13 miles. Bear left to merge onto U.S. 84/285 towards Los Alamos. After passing Pojoaque, merge right onto New Mexico 502 to Los Alamos. At the top of a big uphill climb bear right onto New Mexico 4 towards White Rock. Continue for 12 miles, passing White Rock. Bandelier's entrance is on the left. Have your fee (usually $12 per car - see Reservations and Fees for details) ready.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (267)
Photos (651)
Recordings (183)
Completed (687)
Isadora Cristobal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
Hiking

Alcove House is open!! Going up was Hard! But going down was Harder!

Amy Dalton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 24, 2020
Hiking

This trail is open but you are not allowed to climb up the ladders and stairs to the actual alcove. It’s 1.1 miles to the base and you can still see it and takes pics. There is no fee to get into the park as of 6/23/2020 due to Covid. The Bandelier gift shop and restrooms are open. There is a ranger at a table at the visitor center to answer questions and offer maps. The wall to the base is very easy.

Mariana Barraza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 7, 2020
Hiking

QUESTION : Can anyone tell me if they charge to go in ? If so how much ?

Adrienne Renner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 16, 2020
Hiking

Very very crowded even early this morning! Seems people are taking to the trails as many other visitors told me they were trying to “social distance” without staying at home. Ranger also said they were considering closing down to corona so may be worth calling to ensure they are open in the coming weeks!

View Adrienne's Recording
Amber Lobaugh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 4, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this following the Main Loop trail through the ruins. I went as early as I could get into the park this summer and it was pretty quiet. Easy trail until you get to the ladders to get up to the alcove in the cliff side. A little intimidating to go down the ladders but they are secure. Very cool experience.

Matthew Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 30, 2019
Hiking

Nice views and interesting archeological spots. A little too short of a hike , just need less than 1 or 2.

View Matthew's Recording
Shilo Cavalcanti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 30, 2019
HikingIcy

we did the alcove house after the main loop. fun fairly easy pleasant walk. ladders securely fashioned. I'm often fearful of falling, but had no issue on this trail.

Hannah Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 19, 2019
HikingRocky
View Hannah's Recording
Melinda Jared
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 7, 2019
HikingIcy
View Melinda's Recording
S Rods
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 7, 2019
HikingIcySnow

Had a ton of fun on this history rich trail. I managed to get through all the ladders and I'm usually apprehensive of falling and feel nervous near cliff sides and fins and certain scrambles - not a full fledged fear of heights though. Ladders seem securely affixed to the rockwall. Small part of the trail to the alcove house was icy (en route not up the ladders) you need to make sure you careful where you step. Also, if there has been a recent snow fall or ice build up they may close the final ascent up the ladders. Check the website for conditions as it has been snowing recently.

Kristina Ryan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2019
Hiking

Incredibly cool! Only about a dozen people on the trail on a weekday in Nov. The ladders up to the house may feel intimidating but very well worth the view. Just take it step by step. :)

Alisha Hovis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2019
Hiking

Absolutely incredible!! So beautiful BUT be warned the last little bit to the house is four wooden ladders up but there was a small child that did it the same time we did so make your own decision. Definitely worth the drive out to.

View Alisha's Recording
Janice Strayve
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2019
Hiking

Wonderful hike along a historic area, beautiful scenery too. Not to busy in early October.

View Janice's Recording
Darryl Fuller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 31, 2019
Hiking

Mostly rough paved trail, great place to stretch your legs. Interesting Native American historic site

Ernst Fricke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 20, 2019
Hiking

Nice short hike, especially with kids.

View Ernst's Recording
Jamie Conlan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
Hiking

Short hike to the amazing alcove house.

View Jamie's Recording
Mikki Lawrence
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2019
Hiking

Fantastic time! My teenagers loved the climb to the Alcove. My stomach dropped when they looked down from the edge to wave.

Jerry Horner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2019
Hiking

Ladders are sturdy and fun to climb. Great views from the Alcove. Would be cool if could see inside the Kiva, but understand why they keep the kiva closed out of respect for the sacred ceremony site.

Amanda B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful and full of history.

Elsa Finnegan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2019
Hiking

The hike to the Alcove House is a family tradition, and this time we had kids ages 7, 5, and 2 along. We also took along a jogging stroller, which was mostly fine. There are three or four narrow plank bridges since the trail cuts back and forth across the creek. The stroller just barely fit. there are also a few stairs shortly before the end of the trail, which we successfully navigated before leaving the stroller at the base of the cliffs to climb the ladders. The 7- and 5-year-olds, who had done it before, climbed up and down with no problem. The 2-year-old went up entirely under his own power but needed help climbing back down.

Sarah Michael
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2019
Hiking

An amazing trail, although we went through more than just Alcove House. The trail we did was through the main loop, long house then on to alcove house. beautiful and full of history! the ladders at Alcove house were awesome, just don’t get caught at the top in the wind, very much like a dust storm!

View Sarah's Recording
Ron Blocker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2019
Hiking

I loved all the trails at Bandelier not just the Alcove House, although it was definitely the highlight. I recorded a video of most of the hikes, it can be seen here: https://youtu.be/TK03Az03SEk

Megan Montgomery
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 11, 2019
Hiking

Had the whole place to ourselves, on a Saturday no less! Really lucking our with weather being crummy enough to turn the crowds off, but brilliant on the hike itself. Absolutely amazing site to behold.

View Megan's Recording
Dennis Mallaney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 26, 2019
Hiking

Fun historical trail with ladders to climb up to cliff dwellings.

View Dennis's Recording
Austin Tolbert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 19, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful. Climb the ladders its worth it.

Tristan Plummer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2019

beautiful walk through cliff dwellings and canyon floor dwellings. worth the walk back to Alcove House, not a climb up for anyone who easily gets nervous on ladders or with heights.

Angie Cisneros
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2019
Hiking

Did this hike back in March and was surprised that the hike itself is just as beautiful and unique as the alcove house. There was a giant tree that had fallen that was super interesting and the creek was a nice feature. The ladders are a lot if you are scared of heights or have small children.

Emily McKinley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2018
Hiking

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.

Charlie Lawrence
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2018
Hiking

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.

Showing results 1 - 29 of 267