Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument is just two hours from Albuquerque, New Mexico and an hour from Santa Fe and Los Alamos. The park covers 33,000 acres of varied but beautiful terrain.

For over 400 years it was the Ancestral Pueblo people who populated the region. They built homes from volcanic tuff while they farmed the mesa tops. While droughts in the area ended up causing the Ancestral Pueblo to abandon the area, but visitors today can still see the evidence of their presence via petroglyphs, walls and homes carved into the cliffs.

Fire and flooding damaged the park in 2011 but visitors continue to enjoy all that the park has to offer. One popular activity is the Fall Fiesta held each September. Last year the Fiesta included opera with “Mozart on the Rocks” sponsored by the Los Alamos Opera Guild.

Visitors see much of the park’s historic features via the Main Loop Trail. The trail is 1.2 miles in length and takes hikers past a variety of archeological sites. Another trail allows visitors to see the Alcove House, one of the park’s most impressive cave dwellings. For a longer hike, try the three mile Falls Trail to explore the park even further. The park contains more than 70 miles of trails in all.

Campers can stay in the Juniper Family Campground on a first come, first served basis. Larger groups love the Ponderosa Group Campground which requires reservations.

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