Main Pueblo Loop Trail Stop 3

a creek flows amongst green grass and a few trees
The Frijoles Creek was a permanent creek that flowed year-round but in recent years dries up.

Photo by Sally King

Looking at Frijoles Creek it is hard to imagine it carving this dozen mile long canyon. In recent years it is not uncommon for this stream to dry up in summer from near Alcove House and downstream. Before Las Conchas Fire in 2011 this stream ran at least past the visitor center during all seasons. Since water is so important to life in the arid southwest, it is reasonable to assume that during much of the 400 years the Ancestral Pueblo lived here this was a year-round water source. Water is important to support a diversity of plant life that in turn encourages a wider variety of wildlife. This area near the creek, called a riparian area, hosts the widest array of life in the entire 33,000+ acre monument. Giant water loving cottonwoods and shorter box elder and willow trees line the creekside. Ponderosa pines, junipers, and piñon pine are also found here. This rich array of plant life attracts deer, rabbits, and a host of birds that were important food to the Ancestral Pueblo people.

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Last updated: May 2, 2022

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Bandelier National Monument
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Los Alamos, NM 87544


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