The Info List - Bandelier National Monument

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Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
is a 33,677-acre (13,629 ha) United States National Monument near Los Alamos in Sandoval and Los Alamos Counties, New Mexico. The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans
Ancestral Puebloans
of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, dating between 1150 and 1600 AD. The Monument is 50 square miles (130 km2) of the Pajarito Plateau, on the slopes of the Jemez Volcanic field in the Jemez Mountains. Over 70% of the Monument is wilderness, with over one mile elevation change, from about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) along the Rio Grande to over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) at the peak of Cerro Grande on the rim of the Valles Caldera, providing for a wide range of life zones and wildlife habitats. There are three miles of road, and more than 70 miles of hiking trails. The Monument protects Ancestral Pueblo archeological sites, a diverse and scenic landscape, and the country's largest National Park Service
National Park Service
Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
National Landmark District. Bandelier was designated by President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
as a National Monument on February 11, 1916, and named for Adolph Bandelier, a Swiss-American anthropologist who researched the cultures of the area and supported preservation of the sites. The park infrastructure was developed in the 1930s by crews of the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
and is a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
for its well-preserved architecture. The National Park Service
National Park Service
cooperates with surrounding Pueblos, other federal agencies, and state agencies to manage the park.


1 Geography and geology 2 History 3 Monument description

3.1 Ancient pueblo sites 3.2 Wildlife
at Bandelier

4 Bandelier Museum 5 Trails 6 Gallery 7 National Park Service
National Park Service
Rustic style 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Geography and geology[edit] In October 1976, roughly 70 percent of the monument, 23,267 acres (9,416 ha), was included within the National Wilderness Preservation System.[6] The park's elevations range from about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) at the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
to over 10,200 feet (3,100 m) at the summit of Cerro Grande.[7] The Valles Caldera National Preserve adjoins the monument on the north and west, extending into the Jemez Mountains. Much of the area was covered with volcanic ash (the Bandelier tuff) from an eruption of the Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
volcano 1.14 million years ago. The tuff overlays shales and sandstones deposited during the Permian Period and limestone of Pennsylvanian age. The volcanic outflow varied in hardness; the Ancestral Puebloans
Ancestral Puebloans
broke up the firmer materials to use as bricks, while they carved out dwellings from the softer material.[8] History[edit] Human presence in the area has been dated to over 10,000 years before present. Permanent settlements by ancestors of the Puebloan peoples have been dated to 1150 CE; these settlers had moved closer to the Rio Grande by 1550.[9] The distribution of basalt and obsidian artifacts from the area, along with other traded goods, rock markings, and construction techniques, indicate that its inhabitants were part of a regional trade network that included what is now Mexico.[10] Spanish colonial settlers arrived in the 18th century. The Pueblo
Jose Montoya brought Adolph Bandelier
Adolph Bandelier
to visit the area in 1880. Looking over the cliff dwellings, Bandelier said, "It is the grandest thing I ever saw."[11] Based on documentation and research by Bandelier, there was support for preserving the area and President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
signed the legislation creating the monument in 1916. Supporting infrastructure, including a lodge, was built during the 1920s and 1930s. The structures at the monument built during the Great Depression
Great Depression
by the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
constitute the largest assembly of CCC-built structures in a National Park area that has not been altered by new structures in the district. This group of 31 buildings illustrates the guiding principles of National Park Service
National Park Service
Rustic architecture, being based on local materials and styles. It has been designated as a National Landmark District. During World War II
World War II
the monument area was closed to the public for several years, since the lodge was being used to house personnel working on the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
at Los Alamos to develop an atom bomb.[12] Monument description[edit] Frijoles Canyon
contains a number of ancestral pueblo homes, kivas (ceremonial structures), rock paintings, and petroglyphs. Some of the dwellings were rock structures built on the canyon floor; others were cavates produced by voids in the volcanic tuff of the canyon wall and carved out further by humans. A 1.2-mile (1.6 km), predominantly paved, "Main Loop Trail" from the visitor center affords access to these features. A trail extending beyond this loop leads to Alcove House (formerly called Ceremonial Cave, and still so identified on some maps), a shelter cave produced by erosion of the soft rock and containing a small, reconstructed kiva that hikers may enter via ladder.

Multistory dwellings at Bandelier. Rock wall foundations and beam holes and cavates carved into tuff from upper floors.

Detail of natural cavities and architectural carving into the soft tuff.

Ancient pueblo sites[edit] One site of archaeological interest in the canyon is Tyuonyi (Que-weh-nee) pueblo and nearby building sites, such as Long House. Tyuonyi is a circular pueblo site that once stood 1-3 stories tall. Long House is adjacent to Tyounyi, built along and supported by the walls of the canyon. A reconstructed Talus House is also found along the Main Loop Trail.

Remnants of Tyuonyi Pueblo
in Frijoles Canyon.

These sites date from the Pueblo
III Era (1150 to 1350) to the Pueblo IV Era (1350 to 1600). The age of the Tyuonyi construction has been fairly well established by the tree-ring method of dating, widely and successfully used by archeologists in the Southwest. Ceiling-beam fragments recovered from various rooms have been dated between 1383 and 1466. This general period seems to have been a time of much building in Frijoles Canyon; a score of tree-ring dates from the Rainbow House ruin, which is down the canyon a half-mile, also fall in the early and middle 15th century. Perhaps the last construction anywhere in Frijoles Canyon
occurred close to 1500, with a peak of population reached near that time or shortly thereafter. The century before Tyuonyi's construction is thought to have been characterized by intense change and migration in the Ancestral Puebloan culture. The period of highest population density in Frijoles Canyon
corresponds to a period contemporaneous with a wide-scale migration of Ancestral Puebloans
Ancestral Puebloans
away from the Four Corners
Four Corners
area, which was suffering a deep drought, environmental stress, and social unrest in the Pueblo
III period. Scholars believe that some Ancestral Puebloan groups relocated into the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
valley, southeast of their former territories, founding Tyuonyi and nearby sites. The pueblo was abandoned by 1600. The inhabitants relocated to pueblos near the Rio Grande, such as Cochiti and San Ildefonso Pueblos, which have been occupied ever since. Other, more rustic trails enter the backcountry, which contains additional smaller archaeological sites, canyon/mesa country, and some transient waterfalls. Hikes to many of these areas are feasible and range in length from short (<1 hour) excursions to multi-day backpacks. Some of the backcountry sites have been submerged, damaged, or rendered inaccessible by Cochiti Lake, a reservoir on the Rio Grande created to reduce the seasonal flooding that threatened communities and agricultural areas downstream. A detached portion of the monument, called the Tsankawi
unit, is located near the town of Los Alamos. It has some excavated sites and petroglyphs. Also at the Tsankawi
unit are the remains of the home and school for indigenous people established in the late 19th century by Baroness Vera von Blumenthal and her lover Rose Dougan (or Dugan). In the upper elevations of the monument, Nordic skiing
Nordic skiing
is possible on a small network of trails reachable from New Mexico
New Mexico
Highway 4. Not every winter produces snowfall sufficient to allow good skiing. Wildlife
at Bandelier[edit] Wildlife
is locally abundant, and deer and Abert's squirrels are frequently encountered in Frijoles Canyon. Black bear and mountain lions inhabit the monument and may be encountered by the backcountry hiker. A substantial herd of elk are present during the winter months, when snowpack forces them down from their summer range in the Jemez Mountains. Notable among the smaller mammals of the monument are large numbers of bats that seasonally inhabit shelter caves in the canyon walls, sometimes including those of Frijoles Canyon
near the loop trail. Wild turkeys, vultures, ravens, several species of birds of prey, and a number of hummingbird species are common. Rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and "horny toads" (a species of lizard) are occasionally seen along the trails. Bandelier Museum[edit] The visitor center at Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
features exhibits about the site's inhabitants, including Ancestral Pueblo
Ancestral Pueblo
pottery, tools and artifacts of daily life. Two life-size dioramas demonstrate Pueblo
life in the past and today. Also featured are contemporary Pueblo
pottery pieces, 14 pastel artworks by Works Progress Administration artist Helmut Naumer Sr, and wood furniture and tinwork pieces created by the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
during the Depression. A 10-minute introductory film provides an overview of the monument. Trails[edit] The National Park service has noted several designated trails, advising visitors to bring adequate safe water supplies on some trails. The Main Loop Trail is 1.2 miles (1.9 km) long and loops through archeological areas, including the Big Kiva, Tyuonyi, Talus House, and Long House. It will take between 45 minutes and one hour. There are some optional ladders to allow access to the cavates (small human-carved alcoves).[13] Prior to the construction of the modern entrance road, the Frey Trail was the only access to the canyon. Originally, the parking lot was at the canyon rim. Today, the trail starts at the campground amphitheater. The trail is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) one way. There is an elevation change of 550 feet (170 m).[14]

Distance in feet, vertical scale exaggerated 300%

The Alcove House trail begins at the west end of the Main Loop trail and extends 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to Alcove House. Previously called the Ceremonial Cave, the alcove is located 140 feet (43 m) above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. This pueblo was the home of around 25 Ancestral Pueblo
Ancestral Pueblo
people. Except in winter, the site is reached by four wooden ladders and stone stairs. Alcove House has a reconstructed kiva that offers views of viga holes and niches of several homes.[15] As of spring 2013, however, access to the kiva's interior is closed indefinitely for safety reasons associated with stabilization of the structure. Ladders and stairs have been reopened to public use. The Falls Trail starts at the east end of the Backpacker's Parking Lot. Over its 2.5 miles (4.0 km), it descends 700 feet (210 m), passing two waterfalls and ending at the Rio Grande. But, trail damage resulting from the Las Conchas Fire
Las Conchas Fire
has led to the indefinite, and possibly permanent, closure of the trail beyond Upper Frijoles Falls, pending remediation. In addition to the elevation change, the trail's challenges include steep dropoffs at many places along the trail and a lack of bridges over Frijoles Creek. These continue to factors on the portion of the trail that is open.[16] The 2.5 miles (4.0 km) Frijolito Loop Trail is more strenuous. It starts in the Cottonwood Picnic Area and climbs out of Frijoles Canyon using a switchback path. Once on top of the mesa, it passes Frijolito Pueblo. It returns to the visitor center along the Long Trail.[17] Gallery[edit]


Main cliff on loop trail

Painted Cave, Ancestral Puebloan pictographs in the Bandelier backcountry

Forested mesa tops are framed by the San Miguel Mountains in the Bandelier Wilderness

Basketmaking by Pablita Velarde, c.1940. Bandelier museum collection

Park headquarters

Tyuonyi Pueblo, Detail


Cliff Dwellings detail, showing stone and wood use, Bandelier National Monument, NM

Cliff Dwelling detail, Bandelier National Monument, NM

National Park Service
National Park Service
Rustic style[edit]

Bandelier CCC Historic District

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

U.S. National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark

N.M. State Register of Cultural Properties

Superintendent's Residence, Bandelier CCC Historic District, in 1984

Area 54 acres (22 ha)

Built 1933 (1933)

Architect Lyle Bennett; Et al.

Architectural style Pueblo

NRHP reference # 87001452[4]


Significant dates

Added to NRHP May 28, 1987

Designated NHLD May 28, 1987[18]

Designated NMSRCP May 21, 1971

Bandelier has excellent examples of CCC-constructed National Park Service Rustic style of architecture, built during the Great Depression by work crews while the area was managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The Bandelier CCC camp employed several thousand men from 1933 to 1941 as a New Deal
New Deal
works project, and built roads, trails, and park buildings and other amenities. In 1943, camp provided temporary housing for scientists, technicians, and their families involved in the secret Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
at nearby Los Alamos. Construction contractors were housed there in early 1944.[19] The park's service area was designed to resemble a traditional Pueblo village. Most of the CCC-built buildings are set around a wooded plaza at the end of the main access road (also a CCC construction), and were designed to house the monument staff, provide accommodations and services for visitors, and included maintenance areas. These historic structures include the Frey Lodge (park headquarters); the guest cabins (employee housing), the gift shop, and the park visitor center. The CCC crews also built furniture for these facilities, and artists paid by the Federal Arts Project provided artwork. The preserved elements of the CCC construction were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[20][19][18][21] See also[edit]

NRHP portal New Mexico
New Mexico

List of National Historic Landmarks in New Mexico

National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
listings in Los Alamos County, New Mexico National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
listings in Santa Fe County, New Mexico


^ "Bandelier National Monument". Geographic Names Information System. United States
United States
Geological Survey. Retrieved November 18, 2013.  ^ "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-12.  ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved October 18, 2017.  ^ a b National Park Service
National Park Service
(2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.  ^ "Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 12/08/14 through 12/12/14". National Park Service. December 19, 2014.  Missing or empty url= (help); access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "Bandelier Wilderness". Wilderness.net. Retrieved 2012-03-12.  ^ "Bandelier National Monument – Nature & Science". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-12.  ^ "Bsndelier Tuff – Valles Caldera". Lunar and Planetary Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-07.  ^ [1] Bandelier National Monument: History and Culture], National Park Service ^ "Main Loop Trail Stop 18". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-03.  ^ Warner, Edith; Burns, Patrick (2008). In the shadow of Los Alamos. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
New Mexico
Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8263-1978-4.  ^ "History & Culture". National Park Service. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-03.  ^ "Main Loop Trail". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-13.  ^ "Frey Trail". National Park Service. Retrieved 2013-05-02.  ^ "Alcove House". National Park Service. Retrieved 2013-05-14.  ^ "Falls Trail". National Park Service. Retrieved 2013-05-02.  ^ "Frijolito Trail". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-13.  ^ a b "National Historic Landmarks Survey, New Mexico" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved December 29, 2016.  ^ a b Laura Soullière Harrison (1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Bandelier Buildings and Frijoles Canyon Lodge / Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
CCC Historic District (preferred)" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 29 photos, from 1984 (32 KB) ^ "Bandelier CCC Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-13.  ^ ""Architecture in the Parks: A National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
Theme Study: Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
CCC Historic District", by Laura Soullière Harrison". National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
Theme Study. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 

Further reading[edit]

Hoard, Dorothy (1995). A Guide to Bandelier National Monument. Los Alamos Historical Society. ISBN 0-941232-09-3. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bandelier National Monument.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bandelier National Monument.

Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
at the National Park Service Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Museum Bandelier CCC Historic District. National Historic Landmarks Friends of Bandelier. Discover Our Shared Heritage - American Southwest. National Register of Historic Places travel itinerary

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