Tsankawi Pueblo Trail
A short, scenic trail with plenty of cultural resources and scenic vistas to enjoy, the Tsankawi Loop Trail in the detached section of Bandelier National Monument near the intersection of the Los Alamos Truck Route and New Mexico Highway 4 north of the town of White Rock. Because the trail is at a relatively low elevation, snow and mud dry out quickly, making this a good late winter destination. Along the 1.5-mile loop you’ll find Ancestral Pueblo footpaths, petroglyphs, stunning 360-degree vistas, and a huge pueblo abandoned about 400 years ago. The entire trail is on the soft volcanic rock called tuff and some of the foot-worn passages along the trail are amazing. Although it is a short and relatively easy hike, there are several challenges along the way, including ladders, narrow passages in the soft rock, and steep, trailside drop offs. A Bandelier pass is required for hiking, either an Annual or Senior pass or a seven-day $25 park entrance pass. No pets, bicycles, or horses permitted, and the trail is not inviting for snowshoes or cross-country skis.
The Tsankawi Unit of Bandelier National Monument is located about 10 miles north of the main park along New Mexico Highway 4. The parking area is about one mile south of the interchange where NM 4 and NM 502 split. and about 3 miles north of the town of White Rock. Construction of a new parking lot is scheduled to begin in 2022.
The ladders (particularly a long one about a half-mile from the start) and steep drop offs make this a challenging hike for children, but they will love the first part of the trail with short ladders, narrow walkways, and rutted rocks.
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