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Alcove House Trail

EASY 223 reviews

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.

Distance: 2.6 miles Elevation Gain: 252 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

cave

views

wild flowers

rocky

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.

hiking
29 days ago

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. :)

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

Nice short hike, especially with kids.

hiking
4 months ago

Short hike to the amazing alcove house.

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful and full of history.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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!

hiking
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months ago

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

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful. Climb the ladders its worth it.

8 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months ago

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.

hiking
Tue Oct 02 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Sep 23 2018

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
Sat Sep 22 2018

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.

hiking
Mon Sep 17 2018

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.

hiking
Thu Aug 30 2018

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.

Thu Aug 16 2018

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.

Mon Aug 13 2018

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!

hiking
Tue May 15 2018

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
Fri Mar 30 2018

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.

Mon Feb 19 2018

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
Mon Feb 12 2018

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

walking
Sun Feb 04 2018

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.

Wed Dec 27 2017

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.

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