Tsankawi Trail Stop 20

white rocks with a carved trail
The trail out

Photo by Sally King

Stop 20: Ancestral Pueblo people lived at Tsankawi for several hundred years. They built homes, raised crops, and loved their families. Seasons passed as they watched snow cover the mountains followed by flowers blooming across the rocky mesas and canyons. They listened as cranes migrated north in the spring and south in the autumn. Times were pretty good. There was enough food from the fields and gathering of the native plants to sustain a secure life. Trade brought tales and items from distant lands. As with all things, with time those circumstances changed. There was not as much food in the pantries. The sun baked the soil into dust and the summer rains came with less frequency. Archeologists don’t know all the reasons but by the mid 1500’s the Ancestral Pueblo people began to move away from Tsankawi and the Pajarito Plateau. When the people decided they must leave, they traveled slightly north and mostly east. There nearer the Rio Grande, they settled into San Ildefonso Pueblo where their descendants live today. Today, Tsankawi serves an important role in the spiritual lives of the people of San Ildefonso and provides connections with traditions passed down through generations. You can see many of these cultural activities still being performed if you visit San Ildefonso Pueblo. Check their website for details.

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panoramic view with white rock, distant mountains, and a carved trail
Panoramic of Tsankawi showing the carved trail and distant Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Photo by Sally King

Last updated: January 15, 2022

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