Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe, NM March 26


Bandelier protects the dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo People.

Most of the pueblo structures date from 1150 to 1600 CE.  The monument is about 50 square miles near the Rio Grande River and the slopes of the Jemez Volcanic field.

There are a number of ancestral pueblo homes, kivas, rock paintings and petroglyphs to be seen.  Some of the structures were built on the canyon floor, others were built against the canyon walls, and still others (cavates) were caves produced in the cliff walls by erosion of the volcanic tuff.  Some of the cavates were extended by carving out the tuff.  You can still see the holes in the canyon walls where ceiling beams were hung, steps that were carved into the walls and partial dwellings.  Some rock painting is still visible and a lot of petroglyphs are very clear.  At some of the dwellings, ladders allowed us to peak inside. 

The area is very well preserved and it was a bit like walking through time and imagining what life would have been like long ago. 

This large kiva would have had a roof and been used for ceremonial and educational practice.

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These are the remains of some of the village rooms on the canyon floor.  The village was quite extensive; researchers estimate that over 500 people would have occupied the pueblo.

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Dwellings built against the canyon wall and in existing caves.

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The following picture shows the rows of holes that would have held ceiling beams for structures that were 2 or 3 stories high.  Also next to the row of steps, you can see a pinkish rectangle that was rock painting used for some ceremonial purpose and then painted over.  Above and to the right of the steps, you can see some pictographs cut into the rock.  There were a lot of pictographs all over the canyon walls. 

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The Bandelier pueblo was really quite extraordinary.


Our dwelling was not so old, but was definitely ‘retro’

For her last night, my sister stayed at the RV park with me in Albuquerque.  The Enchanted Trails RV Park is on old Route 66 and features a half dozen or so reconditioned trailers for rent, some even with restored old period cars!  We rented the ‘Shasta’ for my sister – a real classic and they had done a great job of decorating it for the period. 


A fitting end to the visit.

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  1. I've stayed there several times and admired the retro RV's!

    1. I consider it a major win to get my sister ("I've never camped a night in my life") to spend a night in a trailer - the cute factor really helped!

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  2. About how far did you have to walk to see the ruins in the photos! I might be going there in May.

    1. The whole walk might have been a mile or mile and a half. The dwellings in the cliff wall require walking up some step paths, butt the dwellings along the valley floor are easily accessible.


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