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Bandelier Main Loop Trail
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mini location map2014-07-11
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Bandelier Main Loop TrailNorth Central, NM
North Central, NM
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2014
Hiking3.90 Miles 25 AEG
Hiking3.90 Miles
25 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We headed out to Bandelier today. My wife and I had visited Bandelier 8 years ago, but today we also had our 19 year old son in tow. My two impressions of Bandelier today versus 8 years ago – way too hot and floods have messed the place up.

We did the same route that we did 8 years ago, the main loop plus the trip to Alcove House. The beginning of the main loop is on a southeast facing slope and it was baking. The skies were clear and I was breaking a sweat.

When we headed to Alcove House it was even hotter. When we touch the railings at the top of each ladder they were too hot to hold onto. On the way back down the ladders, even the wood steps in the ladders were too hot to hold onto.

The main loop and the trail to alcove house have been badly damages by floods. The 2011 fire that threatened Los Alamos had destroyed the ground cover uphill from the canyon causing the land uphill to be unable to hold the water. Thus, the monsoon rains frequently flood the canyon. Consequently, many trees, big and small, have fallen all along the creek that runs through the canyon.

The flooding destroyed a portion of the parking lot. Consequently, visitors can no longer drive into the monument between 9 AM and 3 PM. You now have to park in White Rock and take a bus in. I didn’t mind the bus.

When I got back to the car my car’s thermometer said it was 97 degrees, which is pretty hot for the over 6,000 foot elevation of the area. As we drove to Tsankawi the monsoon clouds finally rolled in and the temperature dropped to 88.
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