Bandelier National Monument and Cliff Dwellings…

June 19, 2014

After a delicious pecan waffle and sausage breakfast at the RV, we headed to Bandelier National Monument with a picnic lunch and lots of water. The drive along the access road was beautiful, and the roadsides and woods were often paved with flowers.

After enjoying their museum,


and seeing a short film about the park, we found a shady table for our picnic at the Visitor Center.

We chose a short, level trail — the Main Loop Trail – 1.2 miles. It was slow going between my aching foot joints and constantly stopping to take photos of plants and wildflowers. But, it was wonderful and the view was terrific.

The canyon we hiked was called Frijoles Canyon and archaelogists have found evidence of human activity dating back 10,000 years. We were hiking at elev 7,400 feet and I could really feel the altitude in my leaden legs! (I figure this will get better, the longer we are out here hiking.)

We passed through the partially excavated Tyuonyi Pueblo. About 100 people lived here… We walked by a large Kiva, and the partial excavation of many of the 400 rooms that once were here. Many were used to store food, and some were used to keep their turkeys. The turkeys were eaten, and their feathers were used in blankets and ceremonial headdresses. Beyond this plaza of buildings, the path was uphill with a good elevation gain. I made it to the first cliff dwellings, but did not go up the wooden ladder into the caves. I sent AJ up with the camera, but it was so dark the photos didn’t come out. John went a bit further on the trail where there were more cliff dwellings, some reached through a series of three or more ladders. Alcove House (formerly Ceremonial Cave) was an additional hour round-trip walking. It starts on a level dirt trail with a steep climb of 140 feet up four wooden ladders and stone stairs to reach the site.

Even as I went up, I had an amazing view of the pueblo and plaza down below. We have seen so many new grasses and wildflowers I haven’t seen before. Many of the cacti (sp?) are flowering… I don’t think we have been out to New Mexico this early in the year before and I didn’t expect things to be as green as they are and to see so many wildflowers. What a treat!

After a stop in the National Park Service Book Store (and use of my credit card and my NP Passport stamp), we headed back home to our RV.


It has been very windy since we arrived in Santa Fe and this is the first evening we were able to sit outside for awhile. Later, I enjoyed the sunset from the footpath around the RV Park.

About Holly Ritger

I am retired, enjoying being a grandmother, traveling to National Parks and other interesting places in our RV with my husband of 43 years, and visiting with friends and family. Hobbies: photography, learning about wildflowers and birds, and trees, and reading from my kindle.
This entry was posted in Historical Buildings, History, Nature Trails, New Mexico, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Bandelier National Monument and Cliff Dwellings…

  1. Sherry says:

    Looks like it was a good day. Great pictures and very interesting. You are certainly getting my interest up about the area.

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  2. Holly Ritger says:

    It is a really interesting area, with lots of history and historical sites. You could spend a long time here….

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  3. Ingrid says:

    Bandelier has been on my radar for awhile but the weather has never been agreeable the last few times we’ve been around Santa Fe. We’ll keep trying…..thanks for sharing and keeping my interest piqued 🙂

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    • Holly Ritger says:

      I’m surprised we hadn’t been here before on previous trips… it is always delightful to see something new! I am very pleased to find so many wildflowers blooming here…

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  4. Lynne says:

    Looks terrific! Keep ’em coming for those of us contemplating well worn scenery at the moment.😉

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  5. Holly Ritger says:

    I hope you guys are surviving all the rain the southeast is experiencing. We have drought conditions here in NM and a lot of the conifers are under stress and dying. It’s too bad the rain isn’t more evenly spread around! I hope you and Lori are doing fine in the cul-de-sac…

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    • Lynne says:

      Actually it has been hot,humid and dry for the most part here. Lori and I are going to the pool tomorrow and I think the rest of the Bosler’s will be meeting us there. Supposed to be food,keg and of course blue water. Steven and Kevin are working on my new back top deck. I’m very excited!
      Take care and Happy 4th. Light a sparkler for me!😉
      Lynne

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      • Holly Ritger says:

        Hey there! Happy 4th! Are y’all at a County Pool? Sounds like fun. Whoa… A new deck. I can’t wait to see it! We could use some new decking on ours at the very least… No sparklers here in Chama, NM… The area is a tinderbox. We got a big rain for their “monsoon season,”. All of 12/100s of an inch. The humidity is really low – 7% to 17% the last few days.

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