New Mexico is truly a great place when it comes to exploring ancient history and beautiful landscapes. Filled with a lot of places that have both historical value and are simply a marvelous sight to look at, there is quite a big list to choose from if you ever plan a tourist trip here. However, there are only a few places that make it to the spot which you would always prefer going first among all the amazing places in New Mexico. One of these places is the Bandelier National Monument, a vast expanse of mesa country and canyons that spreads over an area of over 33,500 acres. One of the most important functions of this place is the preservation of the remains of a community known as Ancestral Pueblo People who used to dwell this area for a very long time from 1150-1600 CE. The main area that the 50 square mile monument covers is a part of the Pajarito Plateau. The area is filled with opportunities to both explore history and a wilderness that is nothing but a vast collection of beautiful landscapes and spectacular views. Read on to find out more about the place and the tourism activities in it.
While the earliest human presence that was found here has been dated to a period around 10,000 years back, the proper permanent settlements that the Ancestral Pueblo peoples created here are date back to 1150 CE. The artifacts that were discovered here were of a huge variety and since they had moved toward the Rio Grande by 1550, it has been found that the whole area was basically a huge trading network that also included today’s Mexico.
The most important role in the discovery and research of this place was played by Adolph Bandelier, the famous archeologist after whose name the place has been named. He put in a lot of effort during the early 1900s to bring the attention of the government towards the preservation of this area. It was in 1916 that the area finally got the status of a national monument under the command of President Woodrow Wilson. During the 1920s and 1930s there was some introduction of infrastructure to the monument which also included a lodge, making it more accessible.
Sites and Wildlife
There are a number of different trails that you can go to in the monument to explore the historical sites and enjoy the beautiful and majestic landscapes. Most of the hikes are less than one hour long and are therefore easily reachable. However there are some that take a lot more time than that. But it can be determined here that it is worth putting in the extra effort.
There is a lot of wildlife in the monument and they are all protected under the government laws. The animals you can see here include deer, Abert’s squirrels, mountain lions and black bears. Elks are also found here during winter as the cold weather forces them to come down from Jemez Mountains. Other animals that you may encounter here occasionally include ravens, vultures, wild turkeys, a number of different birds of prey like eagles and hawks, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and some hummingbird species.
What to do?
Well the most common activity in this area is trekking but you can also visit the Bandelier Museum. The museum has a wide collection of artifacts and tools that belonged to the Ancestral Pueblo people. In addition to that you can also find pottery that belongs to that era and a couple of life-size dioramas which give a clear picture about how the lifestyle of the Pueblo people was back then. You can also watch a 10 minute documentary that comprehensively introduces you to the monument and its various attractions.
It is very important that you plan your trip to this place properly and check for everything that may be of importance like public access situation, road conditions etc. in order to avoid any misfortune. Visiting the Bandelier Monument is something that will not only let you learn a lot about the ancient times and lifestyle but will let you have one of the best trekking trips ever, given the amount of beautiful spots that the monument is home to.