A walk with Dad at Bandelier National Monument, not far from Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a wonderful destination for kids of all ages, but when the younger ones come along, sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to find something that will engage them in new ways. Art galleries and elegant restaurants only go so far with this crowd! But we have the perfect solution for you: Bandelier National Monument. What child can fail to be fascinated by kid-sized caves dug out of towering cliffs and entered by ladders?

What’s in here?

Just about the right height for me!

Bandelier’s cliffs and towering Ponderosa pines are tall enough to make anyone feel like a child:

Investigating cliff dwellings along the Long House Trail

And it only gets better. You won’t be able to keep the monkey-bar set off the 140 feet of ladders up to the Ceremonial Cave!

Let’s go!

A triumphant ascent

Budding photographers – even the young cynical ones – will find plenty of subject matter in Bandelier:

Hunting down the devil squirrel

The thing about a family vacation is, you never know when the magical moment will arrive. This is all so b o o o r r i n g – until it isn’t:


OMG! Did you see that? She was coming right for me!

So don’t hesitate to bring your family out our way. We’ll send you off for all sorts of adventures.

On to the next stop!

Getting there:

The National Park Service has this useful link giving directions to the Monument from Santa Fe and Taos: Getting There. It’s just shy of an hour’s drive from the Inn on the Alameda, and much of the drive – especially the part from the Pueblo of Pojoaque to the park – is especially beautiful. You might want to leave some time for a drive up over the mountain to the Valle Grande National Preserve – it’s only about a half-hour’s drive west of Bandelier – and you can always make a stop in Los Alamos on your way back to Santa Fe, where there’s a free museum: the Bradbury Science Museum, a very kid-friendly bookstore: the Otowi Station, and most importantly, a Starbucks. With bathrooms.

Gambel Oak leaves in autumn light

Deer photographs courtesy of Britt Renbarger. Your uncle thanks you.