Tyuonyi Overlook

Tyuonyi and the trail through it
A flat hike that goes past two small archaeological sites and ends up with great views of the canyon and Tyuonyi. If you are camping, take this hike at sunrise or sunset.

Hike data:

Controlling agency: National Park Service; Bandelier National Monument
Official URL:Park service web page for the hike
Region: North-central; Bandelier National Monument.
start: 6640ft; 2024m end: 6502ft; 1982m
min: 6502ft; 1982m max: 6640ft; 2024m
elevation gain/loss: 137ft; 42m.
Length: 2.30mi; 3.70km. Out and back distance from GPS. The park service says 2.2 mi (3.5 km).
surface: mixed dirt/rock
condition: Excellent
ease of following: Easy
obstacles: None
The trail is sand and packed gravel in the beginning, rock at the end.
Fee: $12.00. Park entry fee, good for seven days. An annual permit is $30.
Season: All year. Summer is likely to be hot unless you hike near sunrise. After a snowstorm, snow might be a problem, but most will probably melt in a few days.
Dogs: No. Dogs are not allowed on any of the trails at Bandelier.
Bikes: No.
Handicapped accessible: No.
General notes: The trailhead is across the road from the Juniper campground, which is where the facilities are.

The park service requests that you stay on the trails. It is illegal to disturb any archaeological sites.

Trailhead facilities: flush toilet(s), picnic area, trash can(s), water.
Hike attractions: history, scenery, wildflowers, wildlife, year-round access.

When we hiked it:

Date: 2003-10-25 2005-06-12 2006-04-28
Time it took us: 1:37. 1:20. 1:07.
Usage (people/hour): 0.00. Nobody else was hiking. 0.00. Nobody else was on the trail. 0.00. We saw nobody.
Cleanliness: 10. 10. 10.


Waypoint Type Description
BANDAMPITrailheadBandelier amphitheater and trailhead for the Tyuonyi overlook trail.
TYU OVRLKTrail pointTyuonyi overlook, the end of the trail


Paper maps:
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 main entrance to Bandelier National Monument, follow the signs to the Juniper Campground. Across from loop B is the amphitheater parking. Park here and the trailhead takes off to the left from the trail to the amphitheater.
Diana Northup near the trailhead

About the hike:

Trail through the meadow with some dead trees
The trail goes through meadows near the start. Many trees are dead, some from a fire.
Near dawn and dusk, you may see animals such as this rabbit.
some form of daisy
If the conditions have been right, the meadow may also have several varieties of flowers.
This archaeological site is just off the trail; a short trail leads to it. At one time, this building had about 20 rooms. Archaeological investigations showed it was occupied for a short time in the 1200s.
Walls enclosing the remains of a few square rooms
archaeological site
This small, round archaeological site is along the trail, near the overlook. The interpretative sign says that it was a sacred site.
At the end of the trail, you are on a point looking into Frijoles canyon. You can see the trail through the main archaeological sites, as well as the trail heading up the south side of the canyon, part of the Frijolito Ruins loop. You are also likely to hear the Frijoles creek running in the canyon below. In the view arena, there are good views of the Sandia, Sangre de Cristo, and Jemez mountains.
looking down into Frijoles canyon

Plants we saw along the trail:

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