DescriptionAbout 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe via US 285 to Pojoaque, then west on SR 502 and south on SR 4, this 50-square-mile site sits on the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico's rugged canyon and mesa country. Pueblo and cliff dwellings constitute the remnants of an Ancestral Puebloan community established 7 to 8 centuries ago.
The most accessible sites consist of cave rooms hewn out of the soft tuff rock, houses built on the talus slopes and a circular community village. Bandelier also contains more than 33,000 acres of designated wilderness, including some 70 miles of hiking trails. Offering views of archeological sites, the 1.2-mile round-trip paved Main Loop Trail starts at the visitor center. Free permits, required for overnight back-country travel, can be obtained at the White Rock Visitor Center. Pets or bicycles are not permitted on any trails in the monument.
In summer a variety of ranger-led activities are offered, including guided walks, interpretive programs and craft demonstrations. The Nightwalk tour of archeological sites is conducted largely in silence, which emphasizes the sense of solitude. An introductory slide program and a small museum in the visitor center provide background orientation. One- and 2-hour self-guiding walking tours of the principal sites start at the visitor center.
Note: From mid-May to mid-October, visitors are required to take a shuttle bus from the visitor center to the most frequently visited sites between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Buses run approximately every 30 minutes Mon.-Fri., every 20 minutes Sat.-Sun.
Monument open daily dawn-dusk, except during heavy snow days. Visitor center open daily 9-6, mid-May to mid-Oct.; 9-4:30, rest of year. Closed Jan. 1 and Christmas. Admission $20 (per private vehicle), $15 (per motorcycle, up to two riders), $10 (for individuals arriving on foot or bicycle). Visitor center free. Nightwalk tours free; reservations are required. Visitors are advised to phone ahead for current road conditions before visiting the site. Phone (505) 672-3861, ext. 517.
GEM DescriptionRemnants of an Ancestral Puebloan community established centuries ago include pueblo and cliff ruins as well as cave rooms hewn out of soft tuff rock.