My husband and I recently made a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to visit a friend. While there we hiked Frijoles Canyon Trail. We started at the Ponderosa Campground, which was almost empty even on a Saturday in July. You can do the trail as a 13-mile loop, or hike eight miles one way and end up at the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center. We made a seven-mile out and back hike.
The 2011 Las Conchas fire destroyed many of the larger trees and allow for subsequent flooding. However, smaller vegetation is coming back with a vengeance, and the lack of trees provides clearer views of the lovely cliff faces.
The stream is at risk of flooding during heavy summer rains, but during our visit it was easy to cross and pleasant for taking a break to cool the feet.
Wildflowers grew in abundance, and we saw birds, a deer while we were up on the plateau, and a variety of interesting insect life.
This boulder, which must have fallen from the cliffs years (or centuries) previously, appeared to have holes cut into it like a ladder. We were, after all, close to Bandelier, where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE.
As we did the hike, it started out fairly flat, then headed down a steep trail to the valley. After hiking along the river for a couple of miles, we turned back and had to do the steep trail again. This hike not only provided great exercise, but also excellent views and a variety of nature!
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.
The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle.