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Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

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Orlando, Florida
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Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

We will be passing through Albuquerque and will have about a day and a half. I was hoping to take the kids to walk through Petroglyph National Monument for a few hours then head north to Bandelier to camp there and spend a day at Bandelier. Do you think both parks are worth stops? Are a few hours sufficient to make it through Petroglyph or do I have it backwards? Thanks!!

Albuquerque, New...
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1. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Are you flying in, or driving through, and if driving, from where to where? Yes, you could do both, but a lot depends on the above. You can do Petroglyph in as little as an hour, or you could take longer if you wanted. You might want to go to their web-site or nps.gov. and pull up the site.

As to Bandelier. The main trail to the ruins is open to visitors, as is the trail on up to the Alcove House. Total distance, about 2 miles. So, you could do Bandelier in a matter of two hours. The rest of the park is closed due to the fire last year. The outlier portion, Tsankawi, is on the way up from Santa Fe, and it could take you a couple of hours for that.

If you can give us more info on when you are coming, and how, we would be able to help you a little more..

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2. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

They are rather different. Petroglyphs is a part of ABQ and more or less out in th open. Bandelier is in Frijoles Canyon and about 20 min. from any town (White Rcok and Los Alamos being the closest). It is a sort of wilderness although there is a good visitors center, snack bar, etc. But it feels more rugged and "hidden." Is it the petroglyphs or the setting that are most interesting to you?

West Chicago...
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3. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Certainly check out the website for Petroglyphs National Monument to help you decide.

http://www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm

You'll see that there are 4 main areas for hiking. 3 of them will have petroglyphs. The fourth is the Volcanoes Day Use Area.

I have only done one of the areas with the petroglyphs, Boca Negra Canyon. Here you'll find 3 short trails that have a high concentration of the petroglyphs. These can be done in about an hour and are quite worthwhile. They may even be sufficient.

I had hoped to also visit the Rinconada Canyon area, but the parking area was being redone back on 2010 so access was more difficult. Perhaps this year. Be aware that this area has had a reputation for car break ins while people are out hiking. I don't know if that is still true with the upgraded parking area.

You might want to consider Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument on your journey from Albuquerque to Bandelier National Monument. Great hiking opportunity with fascinating scenery.

blm.gov/nm/…kasha_katuwe_tent_rocks.html

And Bandelier National Monument is a don't miss place. In Frijoles Canyon you'll want to at a minimum take the Main Loop Trail and the Alcove House Trail. I'm not sure how it works to access Frijoles Canyon since you are staying in the campground. The website says that all visitors must catch a shuttle bus from White Rock (due to damage to the parking areas as a result of floods resulting from fires). This will be in effect at least through 2014. So you may have to drive there to catch the shuttle bus back.

http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm

Whether you have to go to White Rock or not, very close to there is the Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument. This is actually my favorite portion with the interesting trails you take left by those who lived there centuries ago.

www.nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/tsankawi.htm

Keith

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4. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

just want to emphasize the above and ask a question: 1 1/2 days for abq? or both abq and bandelier? between petroglyphs and bandelier, i'd say bandelier is the must do. but petroglyps can be done in short amount of time. perhaps start with the visitor's center, get maps and advice, etc. riconada was always my choice, since I used to include it on runs on the west side. had not heard of the vandalism reputation. there's some question in the NM forum how bandelier camping and frijoles canyon access is working this summer, so call ahead and ask. camping and nice children's hikes also available down the road in the jemez falls area. consider kth's advice about tent rocks. also fun sandia tram to top of mountain in abq and hikes in forest up there. the price of the ride can be steep for family, but a nice adventure. also check ahead on fire advisories just about anywhere outside metro.

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5. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

The car break ins, as near as I could determine from searching in the past, were almost exclusively of those who had items of some value visible in the car. This is more likely to be the tourist or traveller who has more 'stuff' to deal with.

Of the four areas the Rinconada Canyon Trail is the only one where the website adds the warning, "DO NOT leave valuables or cash in your vehicle."

Keith

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6. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Thank you all SO MUCH for your quick and in depth replies!! to clarify, we are driving from Florida to Yellowstone in a 37' RV with an 8 and a 10 year old. We are going to just drive as fast as we can to get to New Mexico and take a little more time going from Albuquerque all the way to Yellowstone, as it is scenery our children have never experienced. I am actually now considering only doing Petroglyphs if there's time (and we've not had problems on the way) and using Bandelier area as a "home" to do day trips over a 2 day period. Thought about Taos and taking the high road, but we want to have time to whitweater raft in CO, too. We can do it a lot quicker in the jeep and just go back to Bandelier area. Thanks for the tips on checking into the campgrounds there and for the great kids hiking tips, too!!

Albuquerque, New...
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7. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Oh, I hope you let us in a bit more on your route. So many here would have so many recommendations along the way. Where in CO rafting? A day trip from Bandelier to CO. Hmm. Lots of great things within Bandelier base area. BTW, good rafting south of Taos at Pilar...take low road. That's where the outfitters are and then they bus you to where you put in. Can include the Taos Box.

Albuquerque, New...
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8. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

I second Tent Rocks. Also, camping can be iffy in the Jemez Mountains in the summer, depending on the fire rating. Personally, it's not camping to me if I can't have a fire, which is very often the case up there. Consider this lodge...very close to Bandelier and the Fenton Lake State Park. The owners will also give you other ideas for activities in the area, including Jemez Falls. Possibilities are endless.

http://www.elkmtnlodge.com/

Petroglyphs are a good time, so don't miss it, but go early in the day, because the sun is hot and atmosphere thin. Bring hats, water and sunscreen. In fact...don't go anywhere in the state without those three items.

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9. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Thanks, absolutely will check out Tent Rocks and Jemez Falls area. Just to clarify, once we leave Bandelier, we are then picking up camp and heading to CO for rafting then will continue on up the state and into WY. We will only be in Bandelier to see the areas within a fairly close distance to it. Thanks again, you've given me lots of ideas!

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10. Re: Petroglyph or Bandelier or Both?

Bandelier gets my vote. Your kids are at the age where they will enjoy climbing the ladders and such. It will be an adventure for them. If you're going whitewater rafting consider southwestern Colorado. The area from Pagosa Springs west to Durango and north to Silverton is one ot the prettiest places in the country. The Pagosa Springs area caters to kids your age and there are hot springs there too. I take my two boys up there every year or two.

Another place to consider is Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. It is out of the way but it is fascinating, and lots good places to camp. My kids had a great time there and they rangers put on interesting evening presentations.