Bandelier National Monument is one of many attractions and parks that can be seen while camping at Pinon RV Park
Bandelier National Monument
Humans have inhabited the Bandelier area for over 10,000 years. The earliest residents were nomadic hunter-gatherers but the first permanent settlements are estimated to have been constructed around 1150 CE. By 1550, Cochiti, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, and Santo Domingo had become homes to the Ancestral Pueblo people along the Rio Grande because resource depletion and sever drought forced them to find new land. In the mid-1700’s Spanish settlers moved into Frijoles Canyon and later brought Adolph F. A. Bandelier to the area. President Woodrow Wilson officially named Bandelier National Monument in 1916 and most of the work to create the park infrastructure was finished by 1941. During World War II the park was closed to the public for a few years and was taken over by the military to house Manhattan Project scientists. National-Park.com
Formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, this alcove is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs. In Alcove House, there is a reconstructed kiva and the viga holes and niches of former homes. Imagine climbing these ladders, carrying whatever supplies were needed, to this lofty home
Officials at Bandelier National Monument have closed the Alcove House, one of the park’s most popular sites, due to concerns about its structural stability. Accessible only by a series wooden ladders and stone steps, the kiva at the Alcove House site sits at the edge of a niche in one of Bandelier’s cliffs. It’s 140 feet above the canyon floor.
The other cave dwellings are collectively known asLong House, once a large structure with up to four storeys, but now all that remains are the cavates at the back, with many rows of post holes (vigas) showing where the front of the structure used to be. Some alcoves have painted walls and pictographs, one protected behind a plastic screen. Other locations have petroglyphs, all rather faint.
Upper and Lower Falls (Falls Trail)
From cool, shady woodland around the Bandelier National Monument visitor center, the 1.5 mile Falls Trail follows Frijoles Canyon downstream, descending gently by 400 feet, to the more desert-like conditions at the brink of the Upper Falls, a 90 foot waterfall on Frijoles Creek. Varied scenery and wildlife make this a popular route, even though the hike has been significantly shortened following a huge flash flood in August 2011; the path used to continue a further mile, descending another 300 feet, past a second waterfall, to grassy flats bordering the Rio Grande. The flood washed away a short section of the path where it traversed a sheer cliff face just below the Upper Falls, and because of the high cost of repair it was decided not to proceed, so the lower end of the canyon, and the Rio Grande, will remain permanently inaccessible. NPS.gov