Frijoles Canyon - Los Alamos, New Mexico - Day Hike to Ancient Village Ruins

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Frijoles Canyon is located within the Bandelier National Monument south of Los Alamos. It was formed through erosion caused by Frijoles Creek as it coursed through deposits of volcanic rock thousands of years ago. Volcanic air pockets were exposed to create natural cavities, which were later converted into cliff dwellings by the Anasazi peoples some 450~700 years ago.

The Frijoles Rim and Canyon Trail is by far the most popular trail in this area. It makes for an easy day hike, looping up from the visitor center and following the canyon rim before dropping 1,500 feet back down into the canyon at Upper Crossing and returning to the visitor center along the canyon floor - some 13 miles in total. The trail reaches a top elevation of 7,600 feet.

Features to look for along the way include the circular ruins of a two-story Tyuonyi pueblo at the centre of a large clearing. The village that once existed here has been partially restored through excavation. Also watch out for stinging nettle, poison ivy, and wood ticks that are indigenous to the shady groves of trees along the creek bed.

Frijoles Canyon is easily reached by car along State Road 4 from Route 501 out of Los Alamos. It is open to recreation from 7am to 7pm daily during mid-March through mid-October and from 8am to 5pm in winter.

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