Bandelier National Monument Area Trails

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594

Bandelier National Monument Area Trails

Bandelier National Monument Area Trails Professional Review and Guide

"The Pajarito Plateau of Bandelier National Monument is like an amphitheater of the past echoing former peoples and events. A well-developed, well-marked system of scenic, interesting, and often challenging trails exists in the backcountry of Bandelier National Monument.

Permits, issued free, are required for backcountry camping, and sensitive archaeological and ecological areas are closed to camping. The area can be very exposed and hot, so hikers must be sure to carry adequate water, as natural sources are not always available in the backcountry. This trail guide covers an area with over 70 miles of trails."

More Bandelier National Monument Area Trails Professional Reviews and Guides

"A two- or three-day loop hike deep into the scenic Bandelier Wilderness. The ruins in Frijoles Canyon are usually mobbed with people in summer, especially on weekends. Within minutes of starting this hike, however, you will leave the vast majority behind.

This hike makes a large loop into the heart of the Bandelier Wilderness. Along the way it visits a large unexcavated pueblo, scenic viewpoints, running streams, and mountain forest. A lot of the hike was burned by the Las Conchas Fire of 2011, so there is less forest existing now than is described in the following text. However, vegetation is coming back and the hike still offers much scenic beauty to hikers."

"Of all the major archaeological parks in New Mexico, only Bandelier National Monument offers opportunities for true backcountry hiking. Beyond the visitor center, and easily accessible ruins near it, lie 37,000 acres of wilderness, and just about every wild acre contains evidence of prehistoric occupation.

Three of the most interesting hiking destinations in Bandelier are Yapashi Pueblo, the Stone Lions shrine, and the Painted Cave pictograph site. Collectively, these sites date back to about A.D. 1200 when Ancestral Pueblo people occupied the region. However, as you will soon learn, the sites continue to be used today by modern Pueblo Indians."

"Situated in a narrow canyon in the Pajarito Plateau, this region of northern New Mexico is high mesa country. Beautiful mountains surround deep valleys and thick forests are interspersed with arid rocky areas.

From the moment you turn off the main highway into the monument, you’ll be confronted with awesome panoramas of the deep canyon and the mountains in the distance. Once down at the canyon’s bottom, the view up is equally impressive. Bandelier offers a double bonus. Not only will you leave with a sense of nature’s wonder, but you’ll receive an education in the ancient inhabitants of the region as well."

Bandelier National Monument Area Trails Reviews

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Bandelier is a very special place. If you are just looking to see the cliff dwellings and various historic sites a shuttle picks you up at White Rock at the information center. From there you can walk to explore the ruins, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and the Alcove house. It is an amazing glimpse into Native American history from over 11,000 years ago and a great way to learn about ancient pueblos. As the guide states, there are also many options for exploring this area and the surrounding wilderness, including backcountry hiking and camping. It is an entirely fascinating area, totally worthy of admiration and respect. Beware in these summer months, though, and take all precautions because the heat is (obviously) oppressive!
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Fantastic area to visit! A lot to see and explore. Good hiking with good trails. Well worth the trip and I would go back for more views. Be sure to take your camera for you will want to capture the memories.
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It is one of the best trails I've been on in New Mexico
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Plenty of water in all the major canyons. Even found water in Loomis canyon and lots in Alamo Canyon. We saw a few day hikers our fist day, then no one on days 2 and three until we were almost back to the Visitor Center.

Bandelier National Monument Area Trails Photos

Trail Information

Santa Fe
Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Spring, fall
5,326 feet
Trailhead Elevation
8,670 feet
Top Elevation
Skiing, Camping
Additional Use
National Park Service
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Sep 2018