One of the best things we invested in for this trip was a baby backpack, which enabled Anna to enjoy her time at Bandelier without having to walk, trip and fall all the way through the trails.
This particular backpack here was perfect for me, as it strapped on easily, was very comfortable, and her weight really did not irritate my walking pace. I also liked that her hands were free to reach out and touch the leaves or trees on the way, so she really got to experience more than most babies confined to a stroller.
If you are taking the Main Loop trail, I would recommend one of these carriers, to save the backs of those trying to lift a stroller everywhere.
A closeup of the eroded surface of the cliffs. It is hard not to see a "picture" in the stone. It is also important to see the details as well as enjoy the stunning views.
Fondest memory: The fall foliage and the quiet in the early morning.
Favorite thing: Those "holes" on the rocky wall were actual human dwellings. You can climb some of the ladders to take a peek inside. If you look at the surface of the wall, you can see some carvings, usually spirals.
Bandelier is the ancestral home of the San Ildefonso Pueblo (Tsankawi) and the Chochiti Pueblo (Yapashi). It is also has a sacred site - Stone Lions - that several different Pueblos honor. So stop and see one of the many pueblos in the valley.
Respect the local signs that require you to either register at the Council Office, or prohibit entry beyond the store(s) or trading posts.
San Ildefonso Pueblo
Santa Clara Pueblo
San Juan Pueblo Grant
Southern Edge of the Jemez Mountains
Cochiti Indian Reservation
San Domingo Indian Reservation
Santa Ana Indian Reservation
Zia Indian Reservation
Jemez Indian Reservation
Park fees are $10/vehicle, valid for 7 days. The park is open year round. Opening hours are 9-530 in spring and fall, 9-430 in winter, longer hours in summer. The ancestral Puebloan dwellings are the main attraction of Bandelier, but there are also 70 miles of trails for hiking into the backcountry (permit required for overnight). The Juniper Campground ($10/site) is located on top of the mesa near the entrance to the park.
The visitor's center at the bottom of Frijoles Canyon is a 3 mile drive from the main entrance. At the center you will find a snack bar, a gift shop, restrooms, a picnic area, a small museum about the site's history, and a bookstore with trail information.
Favorite thing: This is a kiva, which is an underground (sometimes partially underground) chamber used for ceremonies or councils.
Favorite thing: Here is a ladder that you can climb to check out the cave entrance. Those ladders are made of wood, and some of them can be quite steep!!