Bandelier National Monument

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by lcampbell on November 18, 2001

The big draw to Bandelier for most folks is the pueblo dwellings. These "ruins" can be seen by a guided ranger walk or by a self-guided tour. Jen and I took the self-guided tour after purchasing a guide in the Visitor Center. I thought it was amazing that native people chose to live up on cliff walls, until I found out all of the advantages to doing so – defense, water, and temperature control. And what amazing construction to still be standing after so long.

After taking about an hour to see the dwellings, we weren’t ready to leave yet. So we went on a hike to the Rio Grande River. This was a great hike! It seems that most visitors don’t venture beyond the cliff dwellings, so we had the entire trail to ourselves. Actually, the trail was narrow and overgrown in some spots due to lack of use! Fairly early in the hike, you get to a viewpoint of a scenic waterfall. You can look down into the flat drainage under the waterfall and can hike into it from lower on the trail. The trail then winds downhill toward the Rio Grande through wild clumps of vegetation and swampy areas. We saw where deer had bedded down and left matted down grass. The river itself was kind of brown and very quick moving – I wondered where the origin of the Rio Grande was since the river is not very big here. We sat under a nearby tree in the shade and soaked up the tranquility – how nice not to have to share with anyone. We were glad to have spent longer that the "average visit" of 2 hours in Bandelier National Monument.

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Rd.
Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87544
(505) 672-3861

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