Tsankawi Ruins Trail

EASY 79 reviews

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.

20 days 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!

28 days ago

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

1 month 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!

2 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.

2 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.

2 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.

2 months ago

It was a easy hike and the views were amazing!

3 months ago

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

4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

7 months ago

Nice trial, good walk, rock stairs

7 months ago

great views of the mesas!

8 months ago

Cool ruins, $20 parking was unexpected.

9 months ago

Very cool ruins. Enjoyed with the kids.

9 months ago


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.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

LOVE LOVE LOVED! this trail! We went late afternoon which highlighted the afternoon sun on the beautiful terrain and VIEWS! Highly recommend!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Had a great time and loved seeing all the pottery shards .

Saturday, September 24, 2016

We loved it. Great place to both take your time and speak it all in or zip through. Very repeatable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

There are some steep spots and ladders that make this challenging for an easy rating. My 70 year old mother had to turn back and sit it out. Easy should allow all ages. That being said it was amazing but take water and sunscreen. I rate this moderate on the climbs and easy on the flats.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My boyfriend and I found this trail using this awesome app. We were supposed to go to Bandelier National Monument but I could not get on a packed shuttle, claustrophobic, and the shuttle was the only way to get there.

Anyway, we found this trail and my boyfriend, Matt, said it was even better than Bandelier. It's not as crowded and the un excavated site really lends itself to many surprises. I'm not saying you should skip Bandelier but this trail was an absolute beauty.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Best short hike for a family to have fun and learn a little on the way. Our 4 year old daughter made it the whole way and loved the ladders.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

This is a fun trail because of the unique nature of the trail itself and the evidence of life here in the canyon many years ago. When we visited in July there were not a lot of people here, but it was very warm. The trail has a parking lot, but if you do not know about it, you may miss it.

The trail has a trail guide which is well worth the purchase price that will tell you about the ruins and the cliff writings as you go. The trail is well marked and in many spots you can not help but follow it as the ruts are so deep that you have to stay in them. You can imagine how long these people were here to make these kinds of pathways up and down from the canyon floor.

The combination of ladders and tight squeezes make this a fun one for the kids, but be sure that you bring plenty of water along with you as what you bring is all you have.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

An overlooked trail in Bandelier NP. A lot of indian art. Ruins are just rubble, though their are some dugouts in the cliffs. It was fun to climb three ladders incorporated in the trail.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nice walk with interesting historical notes and some wonderful panoramic views. The pathway can get a bit narrow and tricky, but it was unique and fun to climb around through.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Nice and easy to follow the loop trail

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