Access by Shuttle Bus Only
Starting May 24, 2013 all access to the most visited part of the park, Frijoles Canyon, will be via a mandatory shuttle bus from the nearby community of White Rock from 9 AM - 3 PM daily. Private cars may drive in before 9 AM or after 3 PM. More »
Photo by Sally King
Although the ladders into Alcove House have reopened, the Alcove House kiva remains closed to all visitor access until further notice due to safety concerns. Stabaliztion work was planned for this summer but the work is very expensive and unfortunately funding may not be available for that work in this fiscal year. See photos.
Half way through the Main Loop Trail a choice must be made, turn back toward the visitor center or continue another half mile each way (1 mile round trip) to Alcove House. Formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, this alcove is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs. In Alcove House, there is a reconstructed kiva and the viga holes and niches of former homes. Imagine climbing these ladders, carrying whatever supplies were needed, to this lofty home.
NOTE: Since the fire and flooding of summer 2011 there are no bridges on the route to Alcove House. Recently the park's trail crew put in log crossings where the bridges were missing. These log crossings keep visitor's feet dry but also don't pose a problem if they are washed away in the expected floods this summer. See photo below.
Photo by Sally King
Currently (spring 2013) the ladders to Alcove House are open but the kiva area is closed. The kiva is structurally unsound and needs work to make it safe for visitor access. After snow falls, the climb up into Alcove House may be closed. The ladders, the stone stairs, and even the walkways to reach this Ancestral Pueblo site can be very icy and dangerous. In winters with abundant snowfall the ladders can be closed for many weeks. This climb is reopened as soon as it can be done safely. A metal gate and a sign at the base of the stairs will indicate if Alcove House is closed. Check at the visitor center for details
Did You Know?
Frijoles Creek drops approximately 80 feet over the Upper Falls. The falls occur where the waters of Frijoles Creek hit the more resistant, dense basalt rock from the neck of an ancient volcano.