Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Park, New Mexico

It’s time to do some more hiking!

Calm waters and colorful rocks

Frijoles at Bandelier

We were looking for a place untouched by the fires last year and we thought Frijoles Canyon would be a good bet. Fire no, at least not on the lower half, but there is a lot of evidence of the floods that came through, caused by the fire ravaged areas above the canyon. Many of the bridges that spanned water crossings are gone, and there is a huge pile of debris along the route.

Frijoles Canyon is part of Bandelier National Monument, about a two hour drive from Albuquerque. Entrance fee is $12.00 per car so it’s better to share the ride and the fee with a group. Unless you can make it to Bandelier before 9:00 AM or after 3:00 PM , you’ll have to park at White Rock, NM and take the shuttle. This is because of the flooding that destroyed access to much of the parking areas. (Update 2015: This is still the case for the upcoming 2015 season.)

Evidence of the flooding in the canyon

Easy but watch out for stinging nettles

We headed out from the building at Bandelier and made our way along the canyon. The creek crossings are pretty tame, but it does help to have good hiking boots.

The stinging nettle doesn’t look so bad.  Just don’t touch!

I was hiking along, minding my own business when my hand and wrist began to burn and itch. I had just brushed against a plant. Turns out it was my first run-in with stinging nettle. It’s bad enough that there are plants in New Mexico that seem to want to injure you like the sharp, rapier century plants, stiletto cactus, and prickly goat heads; but this innocuous looking nettle was growing right next to the trail in tall, green stalks. From there on out we
all watched out for them.

Relatively Easy Hike

Besides plant dodging, I really do like this trail. There isn’t a lot of elevation change unless you decide to do a circuit – meaning you’ll follow the trail up and out of the canyon.  We had decided to just go until we wanted to turn around.  If it’s sunny, which it often is in New Mexico, you probably won’t want to go to the top without a lot of water – there isn’t any shade once you leave the canyon.

If you want to see additional photos from the canyon hike, check out the album.


  • Public restrooms are available at the Bandelier Forestry Building.
  • For detailed directions to Bandelier and to make sure trails and/or the site is open, check out the Bandelier Webpage.
  • I consider this an easy hike. 
  • The shuttle is free, entrance is $12 per vehicle.

More Hiking/Backpacking blogs 

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I’m a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I’m also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

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