Hotel near Bandelier National Monument

Santa Fe and the entire Four Corners country where it lies compose one of the most historically and culturally rich corners of the United States. Our resort here at La Posada de Santa Fe has its own fascinating heritage—something each and every guest of ours can enjoy. But we also provide our guests with close proximity to some of the Southwest’s most remarkable archaeological sites.

A shining example is Bandelier National Monument, only about an hour’s drive away in the alluring Jemez Mountains.

The Marvels of Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier preserves the astonishing ruins of a long-standing community of the Ancestral Pueblo people, thought to have been inhabited between about 1150 CE and 1550 CE. Within Frijoles Canyon, you’ll find striking evidence of this inhabitation: homes built from pliable volcanic tuff on the defile’s floor, dwellings carved directly into the cliffs, and the ceremonial structures called kivas, which here manifest both as circular pits on the canyon bottom and as excavated caverns in the rock walls.

Backcountry trails, meanwhile, lead you to other enigmatic Ancestral Pueblo sites, not least the amazing alcove petroglyphs of Painted Cave. And closer to Los Alamos lies a disjunct portion of the monument marking the site of Tsankawi, another ancient village.

For centuries the Ancestral Pueblo people lived in Frijoles Canyon and tended corn, squash, and beans in farm plots up on the surrounding mesas. By 1550 CE or so, however, the residents are thought to have abandoned Bandelier and set up stakes along the Rio Grande.

A visit to Bandelier lifts the curtains (at least partly) on the indigenous lifeways of the Jemez Mountains. It also shows off the rough and sweeping landscape’s scenic beauty—and, if you keep a sharp eye peeled along the trails, some of its resident wildlife, too, from mule deer and Abert’s squirrels to ravens.

A day trip to Bandelier from La Posada de Santa Fe can also easily take in some other nearby attractions, including the town of Los Alamos and the sublime volcanic glen of Valles Caldera National Preserve.

See the Ancestral Pueblo Ruins of Bandelier For Yourself

We highly recommend making the short journey out to Bandelier National Monument during your blissful stay at La Posada de Santa Fe: The mesa- and mountain-scapes are stunning, the cultural story potent, and the ambiance altogether stirring.

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