Ponderosa - Upper Crossing - Frijoles Rim Virtual Tour

on the rim of Frijoles Canyon
This hike begins at Ponderosa Group Campground hikes to the rim of Frijoles Canyon down to Upper Crossing back out of the canyon onto Frijoles Rim trail and down the rim and into the canyon at the park visitor center.  One way 8 - 9 miles. Under normal conditions: 2 cars recommended.  This trail is currently open but the 2 car option is not available.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
13 seconds

Near Ponderosa Group Campground you are in the Ponderosa Pine life zone.  There are lots of large trees and shade in the summer.

 
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Duration:
10 seconds

Approximately 1 mile from Ponderosa Group Campground you reach the rim of Frijoles Canyon.

 
out of canyon
As you reach the rim of Frijoles Canyon you can look into its depths and up the other side, knowing you must climb into and out of this gorgeous place.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
31 seconds

Oh yeah.  Now that you're here you need to climb into the canyon and then hike back out.  Checking.  How are your knees?  Did you wear sunblock?  Do you have water?  Are you ready? This is a commitment.

 
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Duration:
10 seconds

What a glorious view.  This area has been affected by numerous fires, the most recent in 2011.  The Las Conchas Fire burned over 2/3 of the park but nature is making a comeback and the area is being reforested.

 
big golden pea
The trail drops into the canyon and to Upper Crossing near Frijoles Creek.  The riparian area, located near the creek, has a greater diversity of plants than found in most of the park.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
11 seconds

As you cross Frijoles Creek notice the variety of plants being fed by this source of water.

 
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Duration:
12 seconds

As you hike up the far side of Frijoles Canyon be sure to look back the way you have come.

 
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Duration:
24 seconds

A Rock Wren sings atop a rock.  Rock Wrens are seasonal residents in the park all seasons except winter.

 
rocky mountain clematis
On these open dry slopes one expects to find minimal diversity of life.  However, these slopes can surprise you.  In April look for the pink blooms of Rocky Mountain clematis as it twines itself among the other vegetation.

photo by Sally King

 
valerian
Valerian, often swarmed by an assortment of bees, can also be seen peeking up among dry leaves from last years vegetation.

photo by Sally King

 
red columbine
Red columbine is found in the mini canyons as you hike to the rim.

photo by Sally King

 
pasque flowers
If you are really lucky, you may spot some pasque flowers (named because they bloom near Easter).  These dainty flowers very quickly can be browsed by wildlife and eaten to the roots.

photo by Sally King

 
candy tuft and oregon grape
Candy tuft and oregon grapes are a few other flowers you may find here in early spring.

photos by Sally King

 
on the rim
The hike down Frijoles Rim has breathtaking panoramic views into the canyon, across the mesas, and to places far away.

photo by Sally King

 
rim trail panorama
There's a lot of wide open spaces and open meadows on the mesatops.

photo by Sally King

 
sangres from the rim
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe can be seen in the distance.

photo by Sally King

 
further down the rim
This area has been burned several times.  The mesa used to be covered with dense stands of Ponderosa Pine but now there are only dispersed clumps.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
20 seconds

As you enter Frijoles Canyon near the visitor center don't miss the incredible views across the canyon to the Ancestral Pueblo dwellings at Long House.

 
back into the canyon
Don't forget to look back up Frijoles Canyon as you follow Long Trail down to the visitor center.  Earlier in this hike you crossed this same canyon 6.5 miles up-canyon from this location.

photo by Sally King

Last updated: April 14, 2020

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544

Phone:

(505) 672-3861 x0

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