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 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
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.
The Geologic Story
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.
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