May 4, 2017
After our great hikes yesterday, we wanted to get in a couple more.
We did the Falls Trail in the morning. It follows the Frijoles Creek downstream to reach the upper waterfall.
The creek flows into the Rio Grande not long after the Falls.
The trail used to go all the way to the Rio Grande, but the Frijoles Creek had a really huge flood several years ago. Much of the trail past the Upper Falls washed away.
We passed a dozen kids playing in the creek with a teacher supervising. They were also hiking to the Falls, so we hurried our pace to try to keep ahead of them.
The children showed up about 10 minutes after we did. We decided to spend some time hanging out to let the children get ahead of us on the way back.
We took the old trail down to the Lower Falls. It required quite a bit of scrambling in places, but the trail wasn’t too bad overall.
Jon checked out the trail down to the Rio Grande, but it seemed completely wiped out. After poking around a bit, we headed back.
No sign of the children. To get to the falls, the trail is all downhill, so returning was over 500 feet of climbing. At least the geology is pretty interesting.
After a rest at the camper, we went out on the motorcycle to get to the Tsankawi Village Trail on the other side of the Bandelier National Monument. To get to it, we drove out through White Rock before arriving at the trailhead.
There were a number of cars there. It had already gotten pretty warm. The trail is only 1.5 miles long, but there is a significant amount of up and scrambling required.
There are also a couple of ladders to climb up.
The views from the top of the mesa are incredible.
This area was inhabited by the Ancestral Tewa Pueblo who are related to the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Tsankawi was located at the top of the mesa and consisted of 275 ground floor rooms. This area was occupied during the 1400s.
The top of the mesa had stone wall construction.
Most of the visible remnants are the bases of some of the stone walls.
To continue on the loop trail, you take some pretty steep bits down.
The geology is the same as the rest of Bandelier National Monument. The mesa consists of the same soft, vocanic tuff.
If you continue along the trail, you go by areas with the obvious signs of habitation.
There are great numbers of cavates, both ones people lived in and ones that were used for storage.
There are foot and handholds cut into the rock in places.
There are some really nice petroglyphs, too.
The walls are criss-crossed with worn trails, but most of those are from more modern visitors.
The site is definitely worth seeing. Like the Falls and Loop trails, there is a guidebook to this site.
We stopped by a grocery on our way back to the campground. It was nice to pick up a few things to add to dinner.