on July 17, 2002
Beyond fantastic hiking, Bandelier National Monument is full of interesting history, folklore and myths turning this hikers paradise into a learning experience as well. Established in 1916 with 32,737 acres, Bandelier offers numerous trails for all different levels of hiker, (some trails are even wheelchair accessible). If you enjoy the educational experience, buy the guide book at the ranger station for a dollar and take the 1 ¼ trail with 21 number stops along the way that correspond to numbered paragraphs in the booklet. A pile of rocks will be explained for what they truly are (or were) such as a kivas, a Tyuonyi, or an infamous cave dwellings. This easy hour long hike on paved and sometimes crowded trails may wet your whistle for a mote intense adventure. If so, take the nature trail up to the ceremonial cave which is an additional hour roundtrip hike, up a dirt path with a steep climb of 140 feet and up four ladders. But be aware, at 6,000 feet above sea level, even the most basic hiking is strenuous. I’d skip the ranger escorted trip, since the guide book is very informative and the pace is snail slow.
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