Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Archaeological Site

Bandelier National Monument

Kiva interior
Frijoles Canyon from Kiva overlook
Upper Frijoles Canyon
Upper Frijoles Canyon

Bandelier National Monument is an in incredible volcanic landscape encompassing thousands of ancestral puebloan archaeological sites. Bandelier's human history extends back possibly 20,000 years. At that time, nomadic hunter-gatherer groups tracked migrating wildlife up river valleys, across mesas and canyons. Around 1150 A.D. Ancestral Pueblo people moved into the area and built permanent settlements, creating a densely inhabited landscape of thousands of people. The diversity of habitats and easy access to water supported this large population. After about 400 years in the canyons of Bandelier, the people moved from their homes here to pueblos along the Rio Grande such as Cochiti, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo. Spanish settlers also made their home in the canyons around 1750-60. In 1880 Jose Montoya of Cochiti Pueblo brought Adolph F. A. Bandelier to Frijoles Canyon to show him where his ancestors originated. Legislation establishing the National Monument was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. During the 1930s, workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked from a camp constructed in Frijoles Canyon. They built the road into Frijoles Canyon, the current visitor center, a new lodge, and miles of trails. Bandelier's 33,000 acres encompasses numerous scenic views with its sloped mesas and steep-walled canyons, from over 10,000 feet at Cerro Grande to just over 5,000 feet at the Rio Grande. About 70% of Bandelier National Monument is a designated Wilderness area. Hikers can enjoy viewing remote archeological sites and spotting rare wildlife in this less developed area of the park. Besides the numerous hiking paths there are two campgrounds located within the park. Because of the large elevation changes within the park, there is a unique diversity of habitats specific to Northern New Mexico. Today, Piñon-Juniper woodlands dominate in the southern parts of the park while ponderosa pine savannahs and forests reach towards mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations. Scattered throughout Bandelier are desert grasslands, montane meadows, and riparian areas. Bandelier is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Hours Open: Visitor Center Hours 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM - Frijoles Canyon, Tsankawi open 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Seasons Open: All Year

Visitor Fees: 7-day pass: $12, 1-day pass: $6, Annual Pass: $30

 ADA Accessibility Notes

The newly rehabilitated Visitor Center meets accessibility standards. The first quarter mile of the Main Loop Trail is accessible by wheelchair; other trails may be possible for wheelchair athletes. There are two wheelchairs available at the visitor center, that are loaned on a first-come basis. The new movie is captioned, and several tactile exhibits are available in the museum. Guides to the Main Loop Trail are available in large print, Braille, Spanish, French, Japanese, German, and Russian.

 Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are NOT permitted on any park trails. They are allowed in the picnic area, campground, and parking lots. All pets must be under physical restraint while in the park. Remember, pets may not be left unattended except in a vehicle.

For More Information, Contact:

Visitor Center
15 Entrance Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
505.672.3861 ext 517 · fax (505) 672-9607

Chris Judson, park ranger, Bandelier National Monument wrote on December 16, 2010: Comments: First paragraph: as used at Bandelier, the phrase should be Ancestral Pueblo archeological sites Second paragraph: … after about 400 years in the canyons and mesas of the Pajarito Plateau Santo Domingo should probably be changed to Kewa Third paragraph : …to show the anthropologist where the Cochiti ancestors had lived. Bandelier wrote a book, The Delightmakers, set in Frijoles Canyon, which brought the area to the attention of scientists and the public. By the early 1900s there was archeological work being done in the canyon, and a small guest lodge was established in 1909. In February of 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation establishing Bandelier National Monument. Between 1933 and 1941, Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees built the distinctive stone Pueblo Revival structures, including the Visitor Center, which are still in use. They also built the road into Frijoles Canyon, constructed miles of trails, and worked on stabilizing the excavated Ancestral Pueblo dwellings seen along the main loop trail. Fourth paragraph: The park is nearly 33,000 acres, composed of scenic landscapes ranging from 5300’ elevation at the Rio Grande to almost 11,000’ at the top of Cerro Grande. It is part of the Pajarito Plateau, huge ashflows that came from eruptions of the Jemez Volcano. Runoff down the mountain’s slopes eroded the ashflows into a series of flat-topped mesas divided by sheer-walled canyons as much as a thousand feet deep. Over 70% of the monument is a designated Wilderness area, accessed by over 70 miles of trails. Visitors can take dayhikes or backpacking trips into the Wilderness; the free permit required for overnight hikes is available at the Visitor Center. Hours open: The park, including the Tsankawi section, is open dawn to dusk, and the Visitor Center is open 9-4:30 in winter and longer hours in other seasons; find the listings on the park website. Seasons open: the park is open throughout the year except for December 25, January 1, and other days when conditions require. Visitor Fees: 7-day pass: $12 per private vehicle; Annual Pass: $30; Interagency, Golden Access, and federal Senior passes honored; inquire about commercial and recreational groups; fee waivers available for most school groups (these require reservations) ADA: The new movie is captioned, there is a loop in the theater floor to provide assistance to hearing-aid users, and earphones are available with audio description. Pet Friendly: Trained assistance animals are welcome. For more information contact: The park website is

- +

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 35.763229100
Longitude: -106.322593700
Elevation: 6627 FT (2020 M)
Jim O'Donnell
Meet the Contributor:
Jim O'Donnell
 Thumbs Up Place Nearby
(19.1 miles / 30.9 kilometers)
Arch Canyon
Arch Canyon is a 12-mile-long box canyon located north of Trail of the Ancients National Scenic...
Butler Wash Ancestral Puebloan Cliff Dwellings
Accessed directly off The Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway, a paved parking area...
Casamero Ruin Chacoan Outlier
Casamero Ruin is an excellent example of a Chacoan outlier, containing many of the cultural and...
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of America’s richest and most...
Chimney Rock Archaeological Area
The cultural resources of Chimney Rock Archaeological Area constitute one of the largest Pueblo...