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“Bandelier National Monument Main Loop Review”

Bandelier National Monument
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Bandelier National Monument from Santa Fe
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in Los Alamos
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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: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Bellevue, Nebraska
Level 6 Contributor
253 reviews
121 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Bandelier National Monument Main Loop Review”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Bandelier National Monument is an amazing historical sight to see. Within an hour of Santa Fe and about 1 ½ to Albuquerque it is well worth the visit. We ended up taking the backway to go through the different Pueblo towns and seeing the land. One you get to Bandelier it is $12 per car. There are a variety of different hiking trails you can pick but the main one is about 1 mile, (2 for the more extensive housing) and they recommend about an hour per mile. At first as a young adult I laughed at that but after we left just over 2 hours later I realized how right they were. The main loop is relatively easy. There are some steep steps though and anyone with footing trouble should probably pass. Also if you are able be sure to go into the little housing areas you are allowed to go into. They are pretty cool on the inside and each one is incredibly different. Once finished with those you can either head back to the lodge/visitor center or go into the other ‘housing’ area. We decided to trek out to the other area after hearing how amazing it is. I consider myself somewhat in shape, okay, well slightly in shape, but this is a bit of a hike. We went from being freezing cold to being festering hot and back again. If you do this hike during the winter try to go in the morning so that the sun is shining as much as possible. Also, although we did see other kids try to keep kids under 5-6 out. It was a little scary seeing some of them climbing up and being on top of the area. After about a half mile hike through a riverbed basically (someone had fallen as well and needed medical help because of the ice) we made it. Now up 140 feet of climbing basically straight up. There were about 4 scary looking ladders and many spots where really only one person could walk. It wasn’t that bad but it was a busy day and there were many kids up there. And really, getting up isn’t the bad part. It is having to back down all of those ladders that is the scary part. Overall the view is amazing. Seeing the house was awesome as well. And it was a bit of a work out. Make sure you leave plenty of time and enjoy it!

Oh and last of all, bring a snack! And water. Lots of water! (they charge an arm and a leg for both!)

Visited December 2013
4 Thank dazyabbey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Houston, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Really beautiful”
Reviewed December 31, 2013

Pretty close to Santa Fe, and absolutely worth visiting. The visitor center is pretty and there is a small walk to the cliff dwellings. Climbing the steps was not difficult, and the dwellings themselves were a beautiful sight. There are ladders to climb into some of them, which are pretty sparse, but authentic.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank Traveldudebug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level 6 Contributor
290 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Beautiful National Park not to be Missed”
Reviewed December 31, 2013

With only two full days in Santa Fe, one had to be dedicated to exploring the New Mexico natural sites, and Bandelier was accessible for a few hour journey. Home to the Ancestoral Pueblo Indians, the remnants of this 10,000 year old culture are intriguing. A short two hour walk across the main park areas provides beautiful vistas of sheer canyon walls, as well as dwellings built by the inhabitants into the face of the soft rock wall. I'm always in awe of our US National Park System and we as Americans should thank those who are responsible for preserving these beautiful locations across the United States. Without question, recommend a visit to Bandelier if New Mexico is on your itinerary.

Visited December 2013
4 Thank mysterioustraveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A very cool place!”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

This is a diamond in the rough! I definitely advise people to visit this place. It's easy to access, fun to climb in the cave dwellings, and good for all ages (solo, couple, family). It is a considerable walk to the dwellings, so people in wheelchairs may have a hard time - but no more than any other state/federal parks.

Visited June 2013
Thank JC H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
287 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Be prepared for a cold hike in the Winter at the start and then get hot”
Reviewed December 29, 2013

Arrived at 9am when they opened.

There was frost on the ground when we started our hike in the shadow of the valley. As we ascend and got out into the sun, it gets warmer due to our exertion and the light.

There was only one couple at the top when we arrived and that's because they camped in the area last night.

Once again, traveling during of the off season, we had the place entirely to ourselves and it was magnificent.

Saw the tail of some sort of spiky lizard in a crevice between the rocks. The park ranger was surprised to hear that they're out and about.

No food is allowed on the short hike to the monument only water.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Tardykat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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