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The establishment of the Bandelier National Monument in 1916 was a direct result of conflicting pressures on the limited space of the Pajarito Plateau. Archaeologists, homesteaders, stockmen, and the Santa Fe business community all had a stake in the region. Each group thought its use should take precedence and none retreated from its position. The intervention of Federal agencies only complicated an already volatile situation, and the eventual establishment of the monument was a compromise that was a prelude to further conflict.


Bandalier ParkHistory, Culture & Spirit

Best known for mesas, sheer-walled canyons, and several thousand ancestral Pueblo dwellings found among them, Bandelier also includes over 23,000 acres of designated Wilderness. The best-known archeological sites, in Frijoles Canyon near the Visitor Center, were inhabited from the 1100s into the mid-1500s, and earlier groups had used the area for thousands of years. The park was named for Adolph Bandelier, a 19th-century anthropologist. Proclaimed on February 11, 1916. Acreage: 32,737, all federal. Wilderness area: 23,267.

 

Bandalier is a great place for hiking. There is one main trail to choose from without entering the wilderness, but many sights to see on this trail. It all depends on how far you want to go (or how high!).There are many obscure trails for the true hiker
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You can climb up many ladders if you travel down the main trail far enough. It's very nice, but if you're afraid of a long drop we don't recommend it.There is plenty to see before coming to the area requiring climbing these ladders, and the trail is fine for children of all ages. The ladders are secure, but the drop is too far for comfort, and I would hesitate to take a young child up or and suggest those with out a real knoledge of their own condition skip it.

The Bandalier campgrounds are nice, and you'll find heaters in the rest rooms (a real blessing on cold nights). This is a great place to camp, but be prepared for cold nights. This campgrounds fill up early in the summer.

The Pajarito Plateau is of interest geologically as well as archaeologically. It is constituted largely of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) and basaltic lava ejected thousands of years ago by a great volcano. The caldera (saucer-shaped depression) created by the collapsed summit of the volcano is among the world's largest calderas; its rim forms the Jemez Mountains. Through this highland, running water has cut many steep-walled canyons down to the Rio Grande.

Bandalier DwellingsBandalier Kiva

The Geologic Story
Bandelier National Monument is located in north-central New Mexico on the eastern side of the geologically young Jemez (HAY--mez) Mountains. Situated on the gently sloping Pajarito (Pah-hah- REE-toe "little bird") Plateau, Bandelier is bordered on the south by the Rio Grande and to the west by the San Miguel Mountains.

The monument's current serenity hides its turbulent past. In order to understand the forces that created the current landscape, let's go back in time and look below the surface.

Beginning about 30 million years ago, tension caused by movement in the earth's mantle created a huge valley, an immense tear that runs across New Mexico from Colorado to northern Mexico. Now known as the Rio Grande Rift, this pulling apart of the earth's crust resulted from separation along two parallel fault zones.

The area near Bandelier is also crossed by the Jemez Lineament. The lineament is a line of young volcanos that represent a weakness in the earth's crust running from east-central Arizona to northeastern New Mexico. These volcanos include Mt. Taylor, the Jemez Mountains, and Capulin Volcano.

There is water available both in the campground (this facility provides flush toilets) and in the picnic area.

This area was once home to the Anastasi Indians (the ancient ones) and you can find wonderful ruins here. I saw many people climbing on the walls of these old dwellings and can only hope that no one visiting my page will do the same. The ruins are on the main trail and can't be missed.

This park is located relatively near Santa Fe, New mexico. You can find any information you need on the area by following the signs to the visitor center. I must warn you that the visitor center is located a bit off the main roads, and following the signs to it. Just when you think you must have gone too far, you'll see another sign! The center is very nice, and has lots of information.

Directions:
The nearest large city is Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Directions from Santa Fe: Take highway 84 north to 502. Go west on the 502 to the 501. Highway 501 will take you into the park.

 


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