Whether you enjoy history, nature, culture, geology, or archaeology, Bandelier National Monument has it all. The drive into the park is very beautiful. There's an overlook at the top of Frijoles Canyon, which is spectacular. (We were able to drive in, but usually shuttles take you from the Visitor's Center in White Rock. Not sure if the shuttle stops at the scenic overlook.)
We took the loop trail from the on-site visitor's center (see tip below about buying a trail guide). You go past extensive pueblo ruins---a surprisingly big village called Tyuonyi---before reaching the cliff dwellings. I especially liked climbing the ladders and going into a few of the cavates. There are petroglyphs on the cliff faces and some pictographs in the caves that are worth finding. Because this whole area is so well preserved, you can easily imagine what the lives of these Ancestral Pueblo people might have been like. Reading the trail guide (mentioned below) helps conjure those ideas, too.
We strolled through the museum after finishing the loop trail. It has some well done dioramas and interactive displays about the geology and biology of the area. Descriptions of contemporary Pueblo culture are also fairly well done. Unfortunately, the art and artifacts had been removed because of the risk of flooding. The bookstore has a very large selection. They even sell stamps for your postcards!
TIPS: When you pay for your ticket, you get a National Park Service leaflet. That, unfortunately, isn't a detailed guide to the trail. It's worth the extra $2 to buy the thicker brochure from a volunteer inside the visitor's center. It's coded to the numbered markers you see along the trail. Also, a river runs along the canyon floor, so there are shady areas to picnic. (Recent floods have left a lot of debris along the riverside though.) Fall is especially beautiful, as the riverside trees (cottonwoods, I think?) turn a bright yellow. Stunning!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.