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“Great Park” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
505-672-3861 x517
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Ranked #1 of 10 Attractions in Los Alamos
Type: Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites, Monuments/ Statues, Canyons, Caverns/ Caves, National Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Parks, Cultural
Activities: Backpacking, Hiking, Camping
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Attraction details
Owner description: Bandelier National Monument is 50 square miles of the Pajarito Plateau, on the slopes of the Jemez Volcanic field in the Jemez Mountains. Over 70% of the Monument is Wilderness, with over 1 mile elevation change, from about 5000' along the Rio Grande to over 10,000' at the rim of the Valles Caldera, providing for a wide range of life zones and wildlife habitat. There are only 3 miles of road, but over 70 miles of hiking trails. The Monument, founded in 1916, protects Ancestral Pueblo archeological sites, a beautiful landscape, and the country's largest Civilian Conservation Corps National Landmark District.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Cleveland, Ohio
Top Contributor
144 reviews 144 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
154 helpful votes 154 helpful votes
“Great Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2011

This is a fantastic place to hike and experience beautiful views and natural landscapes of the southwest. Be careful as you may not be accustomed to hiking at such high altitude. By the way, try to avoid the below average food at the snack shop.

Visited April 2011
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607 reviews from our community

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San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Historic and Magical - all in one”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2011

We went for sun-up on the winter solistice. We thought we missed the main event, because driving into the part the sun was already rising and magnificent! Luckily, once we descended into the valley of the park, the sun hadn't yet risen over the mountains. When the sun did rise, it cast a shadow directly parrall with the entrance to the main pueblo. The ranger did a great job with the record crowd (about 25). Well worth the early rise. Valle Caldero is also in the area - and very different topography. Both are worth a visit -- if you can, we recommend you hike, snowshoe or cross country ski in one of the trails.

Visited December 2010
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Marino, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Amazing Native American historical experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2011

Great for people all ages. Some of the hikes may be intense for younger children however, but overall not too difficult. There were very neat historical buildings to explore. Make sure to bring a camera!

Visited January 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naperville, Illinois
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
76 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
264 helpful votes 264 helpful votes
“There's reason why everyone goes to Bandelier”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2011

I visited Bandelier on Wednesday, July 28, 2010.

My first stop was at the lesser known, but quite excellent, Tsankawi section of the monument. Located a few miles east of the main part of Bandelier National Monument, taking the hike at Tsankawi is really a 'must do' experience. I've posted a more detailed review on the separate listing for Tsankawi.

After Tsankawi I drove on towards the main section of Bandelier at Frijoles Canyon. I made a quick visit to the temporary visitor center to pick up a trail guide for the Main Loop and the Alcove House Trails. I also picked up a guide for the Falls Trail, even though I wasn’t likely to do that today (hadn’t decided yet). I don’t remember for sure what they cost, but I think it was $3 for the two of them. As far as the Main Loop and Alcove House Trails, you don’t need the guide to follow the well-marked path. But it does help to know what it is that you’re looking at! I appreciate that there are simply low numbered posts to let you know where you are and few out and out signs marring the view. These numbers correspond to the info in the trail guide. The trail first took me along the valley floor and then through and past the pueblo ruins of Tyuonyi. I then moved up and to the cliff where I got an up close and personal view of some of the dwellings in the cliff via several short ladders. There are also great views below of Tyuonyi. Eventually I came along the cliffs to the Long House where I saw several holes in the cliffs showing that at one time the buildings were 3 and 4 stories high. This brought me to around the halfway point on the Main Loop Trail, maybe a bit past. From here I took the side trip on the Alcove House Trail. This is an out and back trail totaling 1 mile round trip. The trail itself is in a very peaceful forested part of the valley floor. At the end I reached the ladders. 4 of them. Totaling 140 feet. So up I went until I reached the cave or alcove. Not for those with a fear of heights, for sure! I have just a little bit of that so my juices were flowing. Heightened the pleasure, I think. In the Alcove House there is what may have been a kiva that you can climb down into (which I did). There are also some great views out and down into the valley. After a bit I climbed back down the 4 ladders and began my walk back to the parking lot. On reaching the Main Loop Trail, I noticed that it had become an official ‘nature trail’ with interpretive signs along the way. Good choice for this portion. The entire Main Loop Trail is just over 1 mile in length. I suppose I’d call these trails the ‘must see’ part of Bandelier, but as I have already said, Tsankawi is a ‘must do’. I hope to get back to Bandelier and take that Falls Trail hike. All highly recommended!


Visited July 2010
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
“A worthwhile outing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2010

Located within 2 hours of Albuquerque, Bandelier is a hidden jewel. The scenery north of Santa Fe is breathtaking and the short drive to Bandelier from Los Alamos and down into the canyonlands where the monument is is worth every minute. Within the park you can see a short informative movie about the ancient people who inhabited this area and then hike a well maintained trail up the canyon. Visits to the cave dwellings are available to those who are physically able to climb ladders. A beautiful, green reprieve from the desert of our great Southwest.

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