Main Loop Trail Virtual Tour 2020

painted lady on nm olive
The New Mexico olives are in bloom and the Painted Lady butterflies are taking to the wing.  What a wonderful day for a walk on Bandelier's Main Loop Trail

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
21 seconds

We barely start our walk and we find Ancestral Pueblo homes (remnants anyway) at the base of the cliff in Frijoles Canyon. These homes (cavates) were carved into the soft tuff rock of these cliffs.

 
behind the visitor center
Let's head on down the trail and begin our journey on the Main Loop Trail.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
44 seconds

The pueblo of Tyuonyi was once 2 to 3 stories high and housed about 100 people plus some dogs and turkeys.  We are standing in the central plaza of the village.  Imagine it full of people doing daily chores.

 
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Duration:
37 seconds

The village of Tyuonyi is tucked into Frijoles Canyon, a lush oasis with a mostly permanent water source.  As many as 700  Ancestral Pueblo people may have lived here at one time.

 
tyuonyi
As you continue down the trail you get an overlook view back at Tyuonyi village.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
41 seconds

Today there are only remnants of the homes that once was the village of Tyuonyi.  Tyuonyi Pueblo was built on the floor of the canyon but many other homes were built right into the soft rock of the canyon wall.

 
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Duration:
22 seconds

Some people lived in the village and others lived in the cliff dwellings.  Which place would you rather live?  We don't believe the choice was one of status but more likely based on who got here first.  There also might have been a seasonal component with more people living in the cliff dwellings in the winter when the sun would warm the homes.

 
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Duration:
32 seconds

Talus House is a reconstruction from 1920 to show the structures that were built in front of many of the cavates.

 
ladder
In the cliff dwelling area there are several cavates (human excavated spaces) have ladders where visitors can climb in.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
27 seconds

Imagine you are an Ancestral Pueblo person.  You would have to climb a ladder, maybe like this one, carrying food or maybe a small child.  Be careful.

 
cave kiva
The ladder you have climbed takes you not into a home but a kiva.  A kiva is a center of the Ancestral Pueblo society equivalent to today's church, court, and school combined.  Treat this special place with respect.

photo by sally king

 
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Duration:
45 seconds

Unfortunately not everyone who has come before you treated this place with respect.  Those hand prints are graffiti left by recent visitors.  Remember, always leave these places (natural or cultural) in the same or better condition than when you arrived.

 
rock with visitor message
Some visitors leave behind positive thoughts.  Remember, take nothing and leave nothing behind.  Positive thoughts are great but not painted on rocks.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
32 seconds

Long House was built along the base of the cliff.  Because the cliff helps support the dwellings many structures in this area were multiple stories high.

 
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Duration:
49 seconds

Above the dwellings many petroglyphs (carved drawings) can be found, made where Ancestral Pueblo people stood on the roofs of their homes.  No one knows the exact meanings of these carvings.

 
long house
In Frijoles Canyon most dwellings are built along the Southwest facing wall of the canyon.  In winter, these rock walls absorb the heat of the sun and dwellings here would have stayed warmer than those built in other parts of the canyon.

photo by Sally King

 
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Duration:
23 seconds

Houses during Ancestral Pueblo times were entered by climbing to the roof on a ladder then entering through a doorway in the roof.  During inclement weather these openings would have been covered with stretched animal skins.

 
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Duration:
25 seconds

This is the end of the Main Loop Trail though there are more dwellings along the base of the cliff for another .5 miles up the canyon.  From here the trail drops down to Frijoles Creek where one turns back toward the visitor center or on up to Alcove House.

 
macaw petroglyph
Don't forget to look for the macaw (parrot) petroglyph at the end of Long House.  It is one piece of good evidence that the Ancestral Pueblo people had a trade network that went far and wide.

Photo by Sally King

Last updated: April 12, 2020

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