Cerro Grande Virtual Tour

heading up cerro
Cerro Grande is one of Bandelier's high country trails.  It begins at over 8500' and climbs 1200 feet to the highest point in the park, 10,199'.  The trail is very steep in some locations but the views from the top are well worth it.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
22 seconds

The beginning of the trail is mostly a mixed conifer forest.  Tall stands of fir, spruce, and pine shade the initial part of the trail.

 
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Duration:
51 seconds

Watch for wildlife as you hike the trail.  There's lots here from elk and black bears to red squirrels and butterflies.

 
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Duration:
12 seconds

A short way up Cerro Grande you will see a large fenced in area.  This is an elk exclosure. The idea is to keep elk out so you can compare vegetation and wildlife outside the exclosure where elk browse to the same inside the fence where elk are excluded.

 
cerro flowers early may
Watch for an assortment of wildflowers.  The variety increases as the summer goes on.

photos by Sally King

 
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Duration:
19 seconds

As the trail climbs watch for views of stands of pure aspen.  In fall these are very obvious by their bright yellow leaves.

 
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Duration:
19 seconds

The first part of the trail is a slow uphill climb through dense forest.

 
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Duration:
21 seconds

After the uphill slog you thought you were at the top.  But look again.  You still have quite a ways to go.

 
cerro saddle
About 1/2 up the trail you come to the saddle.  As you approach you may think you have reached the top, but it is not so.  The trail gets steeper beyond this point.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
25 seconds

From this viewpoint you can get a good idea of what burned and didn't burn in the 2011 Las Conchas Fire.

 
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Duration:
20 seconds

Yes you are climbing again with the sound of the wind.  It's time to think of the views ahead to keep up the momentum.

 
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Duration:
22 seconds

This portion of the trail used to go straight up.  A few years ago trail work was done and the trail now switchbacks through the forest.  A wonderful improvement to this hike!!!

 
cerro grande view
The higher you climb the better the view.  Do you have the stamina to keep going?

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
29 seconds

A 280 degree view of the Valles Caldera, Frijoles Canyon, and the Sangre de Cristos.

 
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Duration:
14 seconds

A bird's eye view of a portion of the Valles Caldera.

 
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Duration:
19 seconds

The views are easier to see and just as spectacular as you head back downhill.

 
tunnels
Watch for animal tunnels left exposed by the melting snow.  What a playground there must be under the deep snow in the winter.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
18 seconds

In summer watch for a wide assortment of butterflies and other winged insects on the Cerro Grande trail.

 
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Duration:
17 seconds

Once again in the nice cool forest you can descend back to your car.

 
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Duration:
41 seconds

Across from the Cerro Grande Trailhead there is an elk pond.  In spring chorus frogs can sing all day long.  A nice relaxing respite after a good hike!!

 
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Duration:
13 seconds

Don't look in the water unless you are ready to see the abundant life of larval bugs.

 
chorus frog
This tiny chorus frog makes a lot of noise.

photo by Sally King

Last updated: May 12, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544

Phone:

(505) 672-3861 x0

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