NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION In Bandelier National Monument, 15 miles (23 km) south of Los Alamos in New Mexico
DATE OF CONSTRUCTION
12th to 16th centuries
Jan: 28°F (-2°C); Apr: 45°F (7°C); Jul: 68°F (20°C); Oct: 50°F (10°C)
Set above the Pajarito Plateau amid mesas, canyons, and chasms, Bandelier National Monument boasts a spectacular setting. The park comprises rock dwellings, kivas (circular ceremonial structures), rock paintings, and carvings, and provides a rare glimpse into the lives of the Ancient Puebloan people of the Southwest.
Though the Puebloans mysteriously abandoned the site – probably due to changing climatic conditions – the ruins are very well preserved and many of them have been fully excavated. A well-marked, 1-mile (1.6-km) circular trail leads visitors past cliff houses, cave dwellings, and communal stone structures.
Getting There and Around There are no bus or train services to Bandelier National Monument, but cars can be rented from Los Alamos, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. Albuquerque is the nearest commercial airport.
When to Go Spring (Apr–May) and fall (Sep–Oct) are the most pleasant times to visit, weather-wise.