Bandelier National Monument

Tyuonyi (Que-weh-nee)

 New Mexico was having higher-than average temperatures when we visited Bandlier National Monument this past April. It was 77°.

Tyuonyi is a circular pueblo site that once stood 1-3 stories tall. The Long House is adjacent to Tyounyi, built along and supported by the walls of the canyon. (See other pictures for openings for beams.)

The walk is a pleasant one, but it was our second day in New Mexico and we weren’t used to the altitude yet–so there was a tad heavy breathing going on and a lot of bench-sitting!

A reconstructed Talus House is also found along the Main Loop Trail. (Talus is broken or block-like pieces of volcanic rock.)

We met a lot of people along the trail and saw a few mule deer scampering across our path.

Blocks of tuff, or volcanic rock, were held together with a mud mixture.

The natural occuring caves were smoothed into rooms by the ancient inhabitants and ceilings were burned to keep rock rubble from falling.

J-was a real trooper hiking the narrow pathways to the cliff dwellings as she’s afraid of heights.

The ladders they used to reach the high dwellings could easily be pulled into the caves to keep intruders out.

petroglyph of mountains

A simple mountain design.

Ladders give access to many of the lower cliff dwelling openings. Walkways have been erected to lead visitors to the dwellings. I can’t imagine hiking these trails in the heat of a Southwest summer.

Dwellings built along the base of the canyon wall were often more stories than similar ones built on the canyon floor. These dwellings used the support of the canyon wall. One can determine exactly how many stories tall they were by looking at the rows of viga (wooden beams) holes. 

wall carvings

Various petroglyphs and rock carvings can be seen along the cliffs and inside some of the dwellings.

more rock carvings

I find it delightful to know that the ancient Pueblo-ans had an interest or need for art.


This large petroglyph is protected by glass. It’s hard to believe these dwellings date to 1150 CE.

There are many petroglyphs at Bandlier that we did not get to see. Taking the 1.2-mile loop trail and spending time climbing to the cliff dwellings took several hours alone. Bandelier is a great place for hiking and to have the experience of seeing into the windows of our ancient people.

Daily Gratitude: good tempura

Earth Day Quote for YOU:

Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation

We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.”


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