Virtual Tour of Upper Frijoles Canyon Overlook Trail AKA Blue Ski Trail

view from overlook
This fairly level 3 mile round-trip hike takes you to marvelous views of Upper Frijoles Canyon.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
35 seconds

This trail starts in open meadows dotted with clusters of blooming iris in May and early June.

 
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Duration:
35 seconds

The open meadow soon becomes a thick mixed conifer forest.  Tall trees in this area offer cool shade and pretty flowers.

 
iris patch
In the meadows iris grow in great clumps.  In the forest they also grow but in smaller groups.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
23 seconds

This trail is very easy to follow and is well marked with blue diamonds to show the way.

 
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Duration:
28 seconds

A ways down the trail you reach an area heavily impacted by recent fires.  Here the aspens dominate and are only a dozen feet or so tall.

 
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Duration:
32 seconds

Did you know that many aspens in a group are only one single living organism?  For that reason, all the aspens in one organism will change color at the same time in autumn.

 
rocky mountain clematis
Rocky Mountain clematis can be found in many places along this trail.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
35 seconds

A lot of this area was heavily burned in Las Conchas wildfire of 2011.  Many of the dead trees have already fallen but be careful on a windy day.  There are many more left to fall.

 
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Duration:
26 seconds

Vegetation is definitely coming back almost a decade after Las Conchas Wildfire.  Does it seem to be coming back fast or slow?

 
the junction
The Blue Ski Trail intersects with the longer Orange Ski Trail.  Putting them together makes for over a 7 mile hike.

Photo by Sally King

 
whortleberries
Whortleberries are common groundcover along the far reaches of this trail.  These berries are important food sources for a variety of wildlife.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
38 seconds

A first look into the upper reaches of Frijoles Canyon.  The park visitor center is about a dozen miles down canyon from this location.

 
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Duration:
42 seconds

This is a highlight of this hike.  Great views into the upper reaches of Frijoles Canyon and long distance views as well.

 
view east from viewpoint
Dense unburned forest can be seen to the east from the overlook.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
23 seconds

As you leave the overlook you once again enter the Mixed Conifer Forest.

 
blue ski trail flowers
High elevation flowers can be seen on the Upper Frijoles Canyon Overlook Trail.

photos by Sally King

 
gray hairstreak on iris
A gray hairstreak butterfly enjoys a blooming iris.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
35 seconds

After the lack of shade in the rejuvenating aspen groves it is wonderful to return to the tall cooling firs and pines.

 
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Duration:
26 seconds

This trail is a good place to see the impact of high intensity fire on a mountain landscape and to watch the recovery of that bioscape.

 
pussy toes
Pussy toes bloom along the Upper Frijoles Canyon Overlook Trail.

photo by Sally King

Last updated: May 30, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544

Phone:

(505) 672-3861 x0

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