Trails Through Time

Walk an ancient Native American trail that leads to mysterious petroglyphs carved in rock centuries ago. Explore a rock climber’s mecca, where towering basalt cliffs are so stunning they’ve been featured on the silver screen. In this northern part of Santa Fe County, our outdoor adventures will take your breath away, whether you’re into hiking, rock climbing, four-wheel jeeping or any other activity that activates your adrenaline.

A Trail To The Past

Bandelier National Monument is world-renowned, but one of its many splendors, Tsankawi, remains relatively unknown. The ancestral Puebloan people who settled here, on a high plateau in the 1400s, built their homes on top of a mesa. Below, they carved caves into soft volcanic stone next to a cliff base. In the Tewa language used by the ancient residents, Tsankawi means “village between two canyons at the clump of sharp, round cacti.”

Walk Tsankawi’s trail and you’re on an ancient pathway worn into rock by those who once lived here. It’s part of a network of trails they used to journey from the mesa top to the canyons below and to nearby villages. Along the 1.5-mile loop trail, you’ll pass through narrow passageways and scramble up and down ladders to visit cave rooms and unexcavated ruins. The reward for your journey is a view of impressive petroglyphs and astounding vistas of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. Tsankawi lies about 12 miles from Bandelier’s Visitor Center, far from the summer crowds that mob the monument’s main loop. It’s a favorite with locals, who know to check the forecast before they go as the trail turns slippery in rain and snow.

NOTE: Bandelier National Monument has
temporarily closed its Tsankawi Unit. It is expected to reopen before summer season 2024. The rest of Bandelier National Monument remains open during the Tsankawi unit closure.

A Trail To The Past

CAJA DEL RIOA trek through the Diablo Canyon Recreation Area will transport you to another world of stark, breathtaking beauty. With basalt cliffs up to 300 feet high, this is a paradise for rock lovers who consider it one of the best climbing areas in New

A Caja del Rio Coalition is working to permanantly protect the 106,000-acre area which contains grasslands, piñon, juniper and cactus forests, mountains and river canyons between the Rio Grande and Santa Fe rivers. The area is a very culturally significant place that provides refuge and habitat connectivity for wildlife. While you may not traverse the whole area, you can visit one of its gems, Diablo Canyon Recreation Area.

Captivating Canyon

A trek through the Diablo Canyon Recreation Area will transport you to another world of stark, breathtaking beauty. With basalt cliffs up to 300 feet high, this is a paradise for rock lovers who consider it one of the best climbing areas in New Mexico. Didn’t bring your climbing shoes, carabiner or helmet? No problem. Diablo Canyon is popular with hikers, too. There’s a sandy trail that ends at the Rio Grande. Film fans may recognize the area. Diablo has provided backdrops for many movies, including “Cowboys and Aliens,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Missing.”

Insider Tip

Summer visitors to Bandelier National Monument get a free ride. Everyone must leave their vehicle at the White Rock Visitor Center and catch the shuttle to the park. You won’t have to wait long. Shuttles run about every half hour on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends, 9am – 3pm. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Mountain Spa

Your body will love you for visiting Ten Thousand Waves, a longtime local’s haunt that takes its cue from Japanese mountain hot spring resorts. Soak your cares away in a private outdoor hot tub, and then go deeper with a massage from a master. Time to dine? Wear your Japanese bathhouse kimono into the on-site Izanami restaurant, styled after a Japanese pub. The organic, local and sustainably raised food includes Wagyu short ribs, house-made gyoza and Japanese hot pot, available in only a few Southwest restaurants. Insiders know the best seat is on the balcony, with a majestic view of rolling mountainsides.

A short walk takes you to your home for the night. You won’t ever want to leave The Waves’ Houses of the Moon, a boutique inn with sleek, inviting rooms styled after a Japanese ryokan. Admire the gorgeous view of the resort’s 20 acres, filled with piñon and juniper trees, from your balcony, patio or courtyard.  Relax by a wood-burning fire. Then sleep soundly on a futon or low-slung bed. In the morning, try a hot tub session followed by a bracing dip in the cold plunge to start your day.

Ten Thousand Waves

A Casita In The Country

For a more rustic countryside retreat, head to Rancho Jacona, a guest ranch with 12 casitas on a 17th-century Spanish homestead (estancia). The oldest houses date to the 1700s, but you can go modern in one built more recently. Located on 35 pastoral acres with towering cottonwoods, the guest ranch offers casitas outfitted in New Mexico style, with kiva fireplaces, vigas and bright color. Fall asleep to the music of crickets, and crowing roosters will provide your wake-up call.

Rancho Jacona

Insider Tip

The Pueblo de San Ildefonso history dates back to 1300 A.D. when the people from Bandelier moved down to the current location next to the Rio Grande. There are walking tours of the pueblo, and the gift shop is a wonderful place to buy items from local artisans. The Pueblo is known for its traditional black on black pottery made famous by internationally known artist, Maria Martinez.