Covering over 33,000 acres of expansive canyon and mesas, Bandelier National Monument is a must-see destination for those in and outside New Mexico. With thousands of years of preserved petroglyphs, beautiful standing masonry walls, and other 11,000-year-old cultural presence—Bandelier maintains and pays homage to the peoples who lived before us. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of Bandelier National Monument, enjoy hiking, or want to learn more about the history and culture of New Mexico’s indigenous peoples, you’ll find a plethora of wonderful places to visit within the park.
Hiking Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier offers various hiking trails that wind around the park and offer exclusive views of many of the monument's most beautiful natural and cultural sights. Enjoy a hike depending on your level of fitness as well as your personal interests.
- Main Pueblo Loop Trail - Located behind the visitor center, this 1.4-mile roundtrip trail offers scenic views and a plethora of archeological sites.
- Falls Trail - The Falls Trail starts down canyon from the visitor center and winds around the park for 3 miles total. While the waterfall on this trail can be dry during summer, it’s a beautiful hike with interesting geological formations.
- Frey Trail - A more adventurous trail filled with steep and rocky terrain, the Frey Trail begins at the visitor center and meets at the Juniper Campground. This 2-mile roundtrip trail allows hikers to access switchbacks into the Pueblo Loop Trail.
- Tyuonyi Overlook Trail - The Tyuonyi Overlook Trail follows the mesa and begins at the Juniper Campground. This trail loops at a total of 2.2 miles and presents wonderful views into Frijoles Canyon.
- Tsankawi Trail - While the Tsankawi Trail is the shortest in the park at 1.5-miles roundtrip, it also requires a ladder to complete the hike. There are plenty of archeological sites on this trail as it starts 12 miles from the visitor center.
Camping in Bandelier National Monument
There are three camping site options when camping in Bandelier—Juniper Family Campground, Ponderosa Group Campground, and Backcountry camping. Each offer a unique perspective on staying in the park, and all require different levels of experience for stay. Juniper Family Campground is ideal for smaller groups of less than ten individuals and has two campsites located within. Ponderosa Group Campground allows for larger groups of people with the campground accounting for ten or more individuals. Backcountry camping is recommended for those who currently hold a permit, obtainable at the visitor center for free. Backcountry camping zones are available 2 miles from the visitor center and allow for a more natural camping venture. You may want to consider the type of camping experience, number of participants, and other factors when choosing the right campsite for you.
Bandelier’s Tribal Nations
Bandelier National Monument sits atop traditional and ancestral lands of 23 tribal nations. There is rich culture and history within the park, and it’s vital that every visitor shows respect for that land and for the tribal nations that have strong ties to it. There are beautiful and interesting scenic, archaeological, and geological features in Bandelier that shape the importance of this park to both tribal nations and visitors alike.
Plan Your Trip to Bandelier!
There are amazing qualities, histories, and cultures located within the boundaries of Bandelier National Monument that are waiting to be discovered! Enjoy your stay in the park and enjoy everything Bandelier has to offer, from hiking, geology, history, and more—plan your adventure today!