Half way through the Main Loop Trail, a choice must be made; turn back toward the visitor center or continue another half mile each way (1 mile round trip) to Alcove House. Formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, this alcove is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs. In Alcove House, there is a reconstructed kiva and the viga holes and niches of former homes. Imagine climbing these ladders, carrying whatever supplies were needed, to this lofty home.
The ladders, the stone stairs, and even the walkways to reach this Ancestral Pueblo site can be very icy and dangerous. In winters with abundant snowfall the ladders can be closed for many weeks. This climb is reopened as soon as it can be done safely. A metal gate and a sign at the base of the stairs will indicate if Alcove House is closed. Check at the visitor center for details