Tsankawi Ruins Trail is a 1.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Santa Fe, 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 accessible year-round.

1.6 miles
236 feet

kid friendly



nature trips




wild flowers




no dogs

Tsankawi Ruin, part of the Bandelier National Monument, is a 2.5 mile loop trail located near Los Alamos, New Mexico and is good for most skill level. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. There are some Kiva Ladders that must be climbed. Rocky trail mostly. Much of it over tuff (compressed volcanic ash). Tuff is very fragile, so please be careful to protect. There is Sandstone too and much of the lower loop is rocky. There are two Kiva Ladders on the trail. One about 10 feet and the other maybe 20 ft.

16 days ago

Used to do this hike as a kid growing up in Los Alamos. Recently went back and it was just as awesome! Would recommend for an easy hike with fun sites

1 month ago

Loved this! Lots of ladders to climb.

1 month ago

If you want to walk exactly where the ancients walked, this is the trail for you. Untouched Pueblo ruins and petroglyphs too.

3 months ago

Awesome trail

3 months ago

Great trail! Interesting terrain and history!

3 months 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.

5 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.

6 months ago

Nice views, easy walk. Lots of history to learn about.

6 months ago

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

7 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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!

8 months ago

this trail has it all. dramatic views , caves, ancient history and diverse floral. amazing!!

9 months ago

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!

10 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.

10 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.

10 months ago

One of my favorite places. Arriving at the end of the day caused my hike to be limited. The archeological aspect is awe-inspiring. Very rocky, a little incline getting up to the pueblos. i am in moderate shape, and thought it was taxing going up to the cliff. However, take your time, as it is definitely worth it.

10 months ago

It was a easy hike and the views were amazing!

11 months ago

Really interesting trail. The worn trail into the rock was fascinating.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The trail is has a fantastic History! Bring water. If you are not comfortable with heights its very challenging, especially the second longer kiva ladder and some really tight areas going down thereafter. You can always turn around and go back the other way. The full loop is just over 2.5 miles. It will feel longer on a hot day cause there is no shade to speak of. Views and experience is well worth it! But even on a windy day you can be dehydrated easily so bring water in a back pack or bum pack. You will need to be hands free for most of the trail for balance and such. I would rate it as moderate.

Friday, November 03, 2017

A little archeological gem. And one of my favorite hikes in the Los Alamos/White Rock area. The hike includes a couple of ladders, and you can pick up a pamphlet at the trailhead for a $1 donation. The views of the surrounding mesas and valleys are beautiful. I would advise wearing shoes with traction for the sandy soil, but the hike itself is easy and relaxing. It’s very exposed so wear sunblock, a hat, and bring water. It is part of Bandelier Natl Monument, so leave your dogs at home for this one.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Beaitiful hike at Bandelier with historic settlements/living quarters and pictographs to view.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Nice trial, good walk, rock stairs

Sunday, July 30, 2017

great views of the mesas!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cool ruins, $20 parking was unexpected.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Very cool ruins. Enjoyed with the kids.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Sunday, February 12, 2017

The trail should be rated moderate due to the narrow trench you need to navigate on the return loop.
Also, trail running is not a viable option for the same reason.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

What a lovely hiking spot! Much nicer than the sites that charge $20 a person! Great panoramic views!! A beautiful spot!!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My hiking partner and I have hiked this beautiful trail three times in the last couple years, mostly for the quiet and the breath-taking views. We always take a picnic and plenty of water in the pack (sunscreen is a must regardless of the time of year). The trail is easy to follow, but there are a couple of steep ladders to climb to the top of the mesa where the ancestral people lived. It's much less travelled than the main Bandelier trails, and as Robert Frost wrote, that makes all the difference. Note that the trail is exceptional dusty and the volcanic ash surface is relatively crumbly, so hiking boots will serve you better than sneakers.

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