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U.S. Southwest:

Bandelier National Monument,

New Mexico

August 30, 2019

(Elevation: 5,000 ft.)


Bandelier National Monument protects Ancestral Puebloan sites, some as early as 11,000 years ago. These sites include petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls. The monument sits on the Pajarito Plateau, on the slopes of the Jemez volcanic field in the Jemez Mountains. Most  of the sites we visited are found in the cliffs of Frijoles Canyon, which runs through the center of the monument.

Bandelier was designated by President Woodrow Wilson as a national monument on February 11, 1916 and protects over 33,000 acres of rugged canyons and mesas. It is named for Adolph Bandelier, a Swiss-American anthropologist, who researched the cultures of the area and supported preservation of the sites.

Main Loop Trail

The Main Loop Trail is a 1.2 mile loop hike in Frijoles Canyon. Sites along the hike included  Tyuonyi, one of several large pueblos located within the national monument. One to two stories high, Tyuonyi contained about four hundred rooms and housed approximately 100 people.

Other sites along the trail included many cave rooms, dug out of cliff walls, and the Alcove House, located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs.


Main Loop Trail Gallery


Bandelier and the CCC

Bandelier is home to some excellent examples of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)-constructed National Park Service Rustic style of architecture and park infrastructure, built during the Great Depression. The Bandelier CCC camp employed several thousand men from 1933 to 1941 as a New Deal works project, and built roads, trails, and park buildings and other amenities.


National Park Service

White Rock Visitor Center

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