Hiking Project Logo

Tsankawi Ruins Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (9)

A mesa-top trail with signs of ancient inhabitants everywhere you look.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.0

KM

Point to Point

6,675' 2,035 m

High

6,505' 1,983 m

Low

173' 53 m

Up

84' 26 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Cave · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly Ancient history, unique paths, and ladders make this a thrill for the whole family!

All National Park annual or lifetime passes gain entry without paying any further fees. Be sure to make the pass or fee receipt visible in your vehicle before heading out on the trail.

Closures correspond with Bandelier National Monument main trails. Check the park's website. for more details. Please do not take any artifacts, rocks, plants, or animals found on the trail.

Description

The Tswankawi Ruins Trail is a satellite portion to Bandelier National Monument. Entrance fees can be purchased at the trailhead or at the Bandelier Visitor Center located in Frijoles Canyon, 14 miles away.

A trail guide can be obtained at the trailhead, giving a wealth of information to your journey and directing you as to the best route to take. After a short trip through a juniper-pinon forest, take a ladder up the side of the mesa. There is the option to take an ancient stone staircase or another ladder brings you to the top of the mesa. The trail continues to weave through the juniper-pinon, revealing scenic views of the surrounding canyons, until you reach the un-excavated Tswankawi Pueblo.

Archeologists still study the ruins, so take care of the ancient walls and leave any pottery sherds or obsidian where they lay. Climb down one more ladder and pass some remarkable cavates (often known as cliff dwellings). The footsteps of the Ancestral Puebloeans and modern-day visitors have carved trenches in the soft rock creating unique walkways, some as deep as two to three feet. The final leg of the trail provides petroglyphs hidden everywhere before it leads to a narrow stone walkway back to the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Holgerson

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 9 votes

#1

in White Rock

#7530

Overall
  4.2 from 9 votes
5 Star
44%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in White Rock

#108

in New Mexico

#7,530

Overall
32 Views Last Month
2,461 Since Mar 25, 2016
Intermediate

13%
0%
63%
13%
13%
0%

Photos

Tsankawi, Bandelier National Monument.
Mar 24, 2016 near White Rock, NM
Often known as cliff dwellings, a cavate is a natural cave that has been enlarged or modified by humans. The soft rock found on the Pajarito Plateau made an ideal place for the Ancestral Pueblo people to thrive. Here, a cavate is surrounded by staircases and walkways carved out by footsteps.
Mar 25, 2016 near White Rock, NM
Take the ancient route eroded by human use over hundreds of years...or climb a ladder?
Oct 2, 2017 near White Rock, NM

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jan 17, 2022
G Allen Daily
0h 51m
Jul 7, 2021
Ro Lyon
Jun 21, 2021
Matt G
Aug 3, 2019
kristof Moeraert
Jun 29, 2019
Heather Culbertson
Jun 16, 2019
TOM HAMMERICH
May 26, 2019
Carrie Wetzel
So worth it to see the Pueblos and Petroglyphs - I liked the ladders but lots of families abound. 1.6mi
Apr 7, 2019
Tomas Leclerc