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By The Staff

Bandelier National Monument draws thousands of visitors each year. The park is a wonder of ancient American life and nature.


Located minutes from Los Alamos, most visitors begin their exploration of Bandelier with a walk on the Main Loop Trail. A 1.2-mile loop trail that starts from the Visitor Center and leads through excavated archeological sites on the floor of Frijoles




A portion of this trail is handicapped accessible.


Other trails in this area include the 5-mile round-trip Falls Trail to the Rio Grande and various trails of different lengths and difficulty leading up to mesa tops. The Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument is 12 miles from the main section of the park and lies between Los Alamos and White Rock. At Tsankawi you take a 1.5 mile walk along a mesa, viewing cavates, petroglyphs and the Ancestral Pueblo village of Tsankawi. Climbing ladders is a required activity at this site. For those wanting longer hikes, the Bandelier backcountry offers countless opportunities for all day journeys and multiple-day overnight backpacking trips. Most of the 70 miles of trails are in the officially designated wilderness areas and permits are required for overnight stays. You can call the park for information and programs at (505) 672-3861 x 517.  Winter visitor center hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Tsankawi is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.