Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos NM



Frijoles Canyon

Frijoles Canyon


artist’s rendition

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Ever since our first trip West when our kids were young, we have always been fascinated by ancestral Puebloan sites in the American Southwest.  Bandelier has been on our radar for a long time.

On our way from train watching in Vaughn NM to Durango CO we RV camped at the Elks Lodge in Los Alamos.  Bandelier was conveniently just outside the National Lab boundary.

Los Alamos itself is a very interesting city.  Lots of history with the lab there and, of course, The Manhatten Project.  The weather didn’t allow a complete  tour but we feel we will come back for more.


Bandelier is a large ancestral Puebloan site settled by folks migrating from Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.  It was inhabited from around 1150 to 1550.  The many Pueblos around Sante Fe claim to be descendents of these people and still have ceremonies in the park.  Whats unique about Bandelier is the mix of large multi story  circular buildings with courtyards (as seen at Chaco) combined with cliff alcove and cave dwellings similar to Mesa Verde.  A mix of simple and very complex building styles.  There are more than 3000 documented sites just in this park.  Settlements grew from one or two families in the early period to large villages of up to 600 rooms.  The rugged landscape of mesas and canyons and volcanic rock also adds to the appeal.  Great hiking, replica ladders to climb, petroglyphs, odd rock formations all add to the appeal for us.

We’ll add Bandelier to our favorite ancestral Puebloan sites in the Southwest.  Some of others include Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Hovenweep, Chimney Rock and Canyon de Chelly.  These are some of the thousands of sites reminding us of the large population who once thrived here.




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12 Responses to Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos NM

  1. MIKE ASTLE says:

    Tried to post a comment but it didn’t co operate. If 2960 closing goes–we’ll know after midnight that we have no issues–we are changing email to Have fun you two, Love, Sharon and Michael from Co. Springs!!


  2. What an absolutely fascinating place. That is one long ladder, Dianne.


  3. I love my “armchair” travels. Definitely an interesting place.


  4. Kings On the Road says:

    Yes, Bandelier is a great place. Lots of history, great hiking, fun ladders and cliff dwellings to explore.


  5. Christine Wright says:

    I’m a big SW, Native American sites, and Mesa Verde fan too. Did you ever check out Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona? It’s also a wonderful Indian cliffside dwelling place. I think Peru would be awesome, especially Machu Picchu.


  6. lynnsarda says:

    Amazing place. I am a passionate student of Native American vultures, and I found your blog to be so interesting, with terrific pix.


  7. SANDY SACCO says:

    Randy and Dianne, I climbed that same ladder and sat inside the dwelling for a photo shoot about
    4 years ago when I traveled to Sante Fe with my friend for a Folk Art workshop and festival. We
    also visited the museum in Las Alamos as a friend who was taking us on the tour knew a couple
    who had worked there. It was fasinating and overwhelming. If you get back to Sante Fe the
    museums on the hill are well worth a visit.


  8. connie says:

    looks fascinating!


  9. Bob skribiski says:

    Fantastic! We love the southwest. Thanks for sharing – hope to get there next year. Bob & BJ


  10. Hey Randy and Dianne, we were there too. Last fall when we did our long weekend in Santa Fe, we did a day trip there. Interesting and scenic place, so different than anything I had seen before. I really like that area – can see why you two keep going back to the southwest.


  11. tjbeached1 says:

    Hi Randy & Dianne! We were there 3 years ago. I was not able to climb around or see too much because I broke my foot 4 days earlier. But, one of our all time favorite camping spots is Bandolier! That was such an amazingly beautiful evening! We still comment on it! I must go back (without a broken bone!) and do the hikes around the canyon! Enjoy and travel safe!


    • Kings On the Road says:

      Hi Teri,

      We’ve arrived in Seattle. Staying up in the Cascades about an hour from our son. We’ll be here for 2 or 3 weeks before trekking north to Alaska. 22 days and 3500 miles since Jacksonville but so many memories it feels like 3 months. Some snafus along the way, but tons of fun.

      Randy and Dianne

      On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 12:07 PM, Kings on the Road wrote:



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