SchoolArts Room

Back to Bandelier

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Aug 27, 2016

During the summer, to get to Bandelier, you have to take a shuttle bus from nearby White Rock. The park service limits the number of cars that enter the park but taking the bus was very convenient and it runs every 30 minutes. The visitor center at White Rock is beautiful and has these giant Pueblo pots as public sculpture.



Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities. We decided to go this past week in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks.




The main trail at Bandelier takes you past ruins of adobe dwellings, kivas, and the remains of dwellings carved into the rocks. Though the people who lived here have been called the Anasazi, it's most likely that these people were the ancestors of the Pueblo Peoples.









Remains of dwellings.





The trail is very narrow and steep in places, with ladders you can climb into some of the cave-like dwellings, most with very low ceilings.







I couldn't resist this face in the rock.



This was one of the larger spaces.




The ceilings are stained black from smoke.





Looking down on ruins; the round dark shape is a kiva, a ceremonial space.






Inside, looking out.





The holes show where wooden poles were inserted to create rooftops.



We also saw a rattlesnake right off the trail, the first one I personally have ever seen in New Mexico.







The longer trail here goes to Alcove House, where you can climb three very long ladders  (if you dare) up to a kiva. This is Bill's hat at the top.


The first time I came here years ago, you could go into the kiva but now it is closed. While we were there, a professional photographer was taking photos of a red-haired tattooed girl in a bikini.





Going down the highest ladder.



The dark oval space at the top right is where the kiva is. Can you spot the tiny people on the ladders?







Another view of the ladders.



Bandelier suffered a tremendous flood some years ago and the remains of the flood are still there, especially on the paths along the river through the woods. Too difficult to remove all these huge trees.







Back at the White Rock visitor center with a copy of a Maria Martinez piece.