Bandelier Monument: Ancient Petroglyphs & Canyons | WNPA


National Monument


Within over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country is evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in surrounding communities.

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Bandelier National Monument protects more than 33,000 acres of rugged, beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence going back more than 11,000 years. Bandelier’s diverse ecosystems make the monument the perfect home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, Albert’s squirrels, lizards, and a number of bird species. Eleven thousand years ago, first humans hunted in the Pajarito Plateau, following the movement of large, now-extinct species of ancient bison and mammoths, crafting stone spear points and cutting tools. The ancestral Pueblo peoples lived here from approximately 1150 to 1550 CE, building homes carved from the volcanic tuff and planted crops in mesa top fields. Tuff, a soft rock formed from volcanic ash flows, is so soft that it could be shaped with hand tools to create hollowed-out houses and made into blocks for other homes. Along the Rio Grande, Pueblo peoples continue to live and adapt with oral traditions and beliefs connecting them with their ancestors. Visit this beautiful monument and experience these beautiful natural, historical, and cultural landscapes.

Stories from Bandelier

Determining Butterfly Responses to Management Practices in Bandelier National Monument
Since our founding in 1938

WNPA has provided more than

$136 million

in aid to our partner parks to fund educational programs, initiatives, and scientific research

Kids in Parks

National parks are places where kids can dream up great adventures! Taking in amazing scenery. Testing out new skills. Exploring places kids may have only heard about. But most importantly, creating new memories with friends and family.

Our public lands are our public commons. They belong to all of us as part of our natural and cultural heritage. They remind us of a larger world that has existed long before the arrival of humans and will survive long after we are gone. –Terry Tempest Williams, Author & Conservationist

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Bring the Parks Home

When you can’t get to a national park for a visit, experience it from the comfort of your home. WNPA’s online store is packed with ranger-approved park collectibles, books, toys, and clothing. Shop for a special item.