Frijolito Ruins loop
|A short loop trail to a pueblo that tree ring data indicates was built 1431-1447. In addition to the ruins, you also get good views of the canyon bottom, and views in all directions from the mesa top.|
|Hike data||Waypoints||Maps||Getting to the trailhead||About the hike||Plants along the trail||Comments|
When we hiked it:
|Time it took us:||2:22.|
|BAND VC||Trailhead||Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center and trailhead|
|FRIJOLEY1||Trail junction||Frijolito Ruins loop trail back into canyon|
|Map name||Cartographer||Year||Scale||Topo map?||Online access||Notes|
|Albuquerque New Mexico||USGS||1983||1:100000||Y||from sar.lanl.gov (free)|
|Bandelier National Monument||National Geographic Trails Illustrated||2000||1:28600||Y||from Amazon (purchase)|
|Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah||Automobile Club of Southern California||1998||1:0||N||from Amazon (purchase)||Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.|
|Los Alamos||BLM||2003||1:100000||Y||from Amazon (purchase)|
|Santa Fe National Forest||US Forest Service||2004||1:126720||N||from Amazon (purchase)||West half|
|Wildernesses of New Mexico||US Forest Service||1981||1:1000000||N||No online copies.||Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.|
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Getting to the trailhead:
From the visitor center, walk into the picnic area and turn right. The trailhead is near the restrooms in the picnic area.
About the hike:
The trail starts off flat, in the valley bottom. It does not remain flat for long. Right after the trailhead, the trail splits; go left. The trail is well-signed, so the choice is an easy one. The trail starts heading up almost immediately, and you are walking up switchbacks. The trail sometimes has steps made out of rocks in it. From the switchbacks, you get great views of the north canyon wall, the Frey trail, and the Ruins trail.
From the mesa top, which you reach after about 40 minutes, you have great views east, including the VLBA radio telescope antenna and the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
In this photo, you can see the view east, including the trail on which you just arrived.
The ruins are unexcavated, so most of what you are seeing is humps covered with vegetation. However, we saw this rock where somebody placed pottery shards.
From the ruins, take the trail heading west. You get a nice view of the Jemez mountains as you head this way.
On the mesa top, look at the ant hills. They are often full of small crystals. You also see a lot of these crystals all over.
At (FRIJOLEY1) you come to a junction. Take the trail to the right, down into the canyon. The trail descends gently, which is a surprise, but gentle on the knees.
Again as you head down the canyon, you get great views into the canyon, and of the ruins on the canyon floor and in the north wall of the canyon.
As you head down, when the trail and walls turn white, look for the moss growing around the bases of the oaks on the right side of the trail.
This trail eventually ends up at the junction right behind the restrooms in the picnic area.
Plants we saw along the trail:
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