Tsankawi Trail Stop 15

Tsankawi Trail Stop 15
Third 12 foot ladder and the cavates

NPS Photo by Stella Carroll

It may appear that the trail goes both directions from the base of the ladder. However, the trail to the right provides the best access to cavates that you may easily enter. The trail to the left leads to unsafe cliffs and a dead-end.
Please proceed to the right until you reach the first cavate.
Like in Frijoles Canyon, the people here took advantage of the benefits of building stone structures against south-facing walls. Most of the caves carved into the stone wall to your right had small masonry buildings, known as talus pueblos, constructed in front of them. The thick stone walls exposed to the direct rays of the sun capture and radiate heat in the winter keeping the buildings and cavates much warmer than the exterior air. Small fires may have also been used. In the summer the walls insulate the stone rooms keeping them somewhat cooler than the exterior air. These buildings would have also offered protection from the onslaught of afternoon rainstorms. It is not unusual today for visitors to seek out their shelter but we do not recommend that you enter them during lightning storms.

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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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