Frijoles Canyon and Rim Trail

Trail and trees with regrowth
Upper Frijoles Canyon trail

Photo by Geoff Goins

The Mid Frijoles canyon trail is a very popular 8 mile one way hike from Ponderosa group campground to the Visitor Center. This trail has just been rebuilt after the Conchas fire and subsequent flooding, and is now in great condition. From Ponderosa campground he trail descends into the canyon bottom and turns left along the creek and canyon bottom towards the Visitor Center. Take the time to enjoy the incredible rock formations and relax in the peace and quiet that is becoming so hard to find in our modern world. Be prepared to get your feet wet as there are no bridges, but the water is usually no more than a couple of inches deep.

The Frijoles Rim trail is located on the mesa above Frijoles canyon. From Cottonwood picnic area by the Visitor center, take the Long trail to the Frijoles Rim trail. It connects to the Mid Frijoles trail at the upper crossing of Frijoles creek and allows you to turn this into about a 13 mile loop. This trail gives you expansive views of a good portion of Northern New Mexico and several mountain ranges.

Please note: Conditions are subject to change, depending on summer rains and flood events.

The Narrows are as gorgeous as ever, with its sun dappled cliffs and lively creek. With the floodwaters continuing to rearrange the canyon bottom, some areas are stunningly beautiful. Although greatly changed, this is still a beautiful hike and offers unique perspective to the power of water.

For those who have hiked this trail before, you will notice that a lot of the old landmarks are gone and it will be like exploring a new canyon. For first timers it will almost seem like you are hiking a canyon in Utah, only in your own backyard. Take the time to enjoy the incredible rock formations and relax in the peace and quiet that are becoming so hard to find in our modern world.

Please note: Since the Las Conchas fire, Frijoles Canyon is more susceptible to flash floods. During the monsoon season it is best to be out of the canyon before the afternoon rain.

Here are some options of different ways to hike the Frijoles Canyon Trail:

Leave one vehicle at the Visitor Center, then drive another to Ponderosa Campground, hike the trail to the Visitor Center, then drive the car you left there back to Ponderosa Campground. This is approximately an 8 mile hike.

Another option is to park at the Visitor Center, hike up the Long Trail then along the Frijoles Rim Trail to Upper Crossing, then down Frijoles Canyon back to the Visitor Center. This is approximately a 13 mile loop, so come prepared to spend the day.

Finally, another way is to simply park at the Visitor Center, hike up the canyon, then hike back down to the Visitor Center. The Narrows area is about 4 miles up canyon from the Visitor Center and is quite stunning so be sure not to turn back too soon!

If you have questions, the staff at the Visitor Center will be happy to help you. They can also tell you about some of the other great hiking opportunities at Bandelier National Monument. From day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, there is something for everyone who has the skills/mindset to meet the current challenges.

poison ivy
Poison ivy has returned quickly along the bottom of Frijoles Canyon.

NPS Photo

zone f
Upper Frijoles shows the signs of fire and flood. 

photo by kevin stillman

Youth conservation Corps doing Trail work
The Bandelier trail crew, the Youth Conservation Corps, and many volunteers worked hard reconstructing the Frijoles Canyon trail.

photo by Geoff Goins

Completed Frijoles Canyon YCC trail work
Proud members of the YCC show off their completed trail work in Frijoles Canyon

Kevin Stillman

Last updated: January 27, 2018

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


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