NEW MEXICO: Bandelier National Monument

May 18 ~ Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument

Located 48 miles NW of Santa Fe, you can find another example of ancestral dwellings from the Ancient Pueblo People. There is evidence showing human activity at what is now called Bandelier National Monument dating back 10,000 years.

Visitors Center

There is currently a mandatory free shuttle bus that takes you from the White Rock Visitors Center into the park. We even found out that they have $20/night RV parking here so decided “why not”.

Arriving just in time to catch a shuttle, we bounded out the door without hats, sunscreen, water or food. So, first thing upon arrival at the park, our priority was food and water. A small cafe is just to the side of the visitors center so we took a chance. Tim ordered a burger and me a fish taco.

Bandelier Trading Post Cafe

They were out of bottled water, but we at least got a cup of water to down before heading off.

Unfortunately Tim got a reaction from his burger, so we were delayed a short while waiting for his system to calm down.

In the meantime we watched a brief film at the visitors center (narrated by Meryl Streep) and eventually embarked on a 1.2 mile loop trail, much of which was paved and wheelchair accessible. They have a booklet for $2 that provides information for a self-guided tour. They also have a few loaner copies on hand. There are also a FEW signs along the trail that give more information.

Just FYI, there are over 70 miles of trails in Bandelier if you are looking for something longer or more challenging. The rangers are happy to make recommendations.

About Ancestral Pueblo Farming

Frijoles Creek runs through Frijoles Canyon and provided year-round water. Corn, beans and squash were grown and supplemented with hunting rabbit, deer and squirrel.

Tyuonyi, a large dwelling on the floor of the canyon, was inhabited at the same time as the dwellings built along the base of the cliff.


Talus homes were built up against the cliff from rock debris.

Example of a Talus home

Two of the cliff dwellings had steep ladders in place for anyone who wanted to climb up and explore the inside.

Not much room inside this one

The first one was quite tiny inside, roughly 6 feet in diameter. Tim and I fit in easily, but you would not want much company.

The ladders were sturdy and well anchored to the wall

The second dwelling actually had several rooms. It was my favorite and we spent several minutes just sitting inside and enjoying the views.

Much more room inside this cliff dwelling

I liked seeing the doorway inside the doorway.

Tim coming down the ladder frontwards. Me, I backed down.

A few more misc shots from here:

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Upon completing our loop, we arrived back at the bus pick up point, just at the exact time a bus was pulling in. Our timing was impeccable.

Stopping to take a picture of flowers is an addiction

Off to check out a restaurant just down the street called “Pig and Fig” for dinner.

UPDATE: The restaurant had closed early for a special event. Oh well, we got a bit more walking in. We had to settle for having some bean and sausage soup I made before we left.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we did not have to wait long for our shuttle, that the town has provided a large parking lot with handy hookups for RV’s for such a great rate, and that we have a home for the night while waiting for the wind to die down.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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11 Responses to NEW MEXICO: Bandelier National Monument

  1. sheilsm says:

    So glad you added this place to your trip. We have visited twice! We were fascinated by the rocks and dwellings! I have to tell you that your photos are fantastic! You really captured the area!
    We ate at Pig and Fig the last time we visited and really enjoyed the food! You guys are covering a lot! Thanks for the commentary and we can’t wait to read more!


    • We liked that we could actually experience what it was like inside the cliff/cave dwellings. Although I was not too crazy about climbing the ladders with my lousy balance, I did not want to miss the opportunity. Glad you got to eat at the Pig and Fig. Their online menu looked good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never heard of this place before, but I’ll remember it for a future visit. Thanks for sharing this!



    • Janet, it was new to me as well until it was recommended to us. That is one of the joys of sharing our travels as others more familiar with where we are headed quite generously voice their favorite places.


  3. 70 miles–that would be a lot of walking! Would love to see some cliff dwellings up close and personal (I think I’d have climbed up the ladder the way Tim came down! Was it cool inside?


    • I was quite content with our 1.2 mile walk. No way could I cover all 70 miles in the park, but I’m sure there are some avid hikers that enjoy the longer trails. Yes, it was shaded inside so a little cooler.


  4. Pingback: NEW MEXICO: Bandelier National Monument – Flamingo Media PR

  5. TracyNicole says:

    I was already considering a road trip to Arizona next year for vacation, but after viewing your posts and showing them to my husband we’re going to see if we can make it a 2 week trip to explore New Mexico as well!


  6. Dale says:

    Great visit to the Park, and a great meal in the Cafe.
    The staff was so nice. Great Burgers, homemade fries, even fried ice cream. Awesome day!


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