We went to Tsankawi on May 26th, but due to wireless issues, I’m only getting it posted now.

IMG_2442Tsankawi is 3 or 4 miles outside the small town of White Rock New Mexico.  It is part of the Bandelier Monument but nothing like Frijoles Canyon and the main Bandelier site.

Tsankawi is almost completely unimproved and it is all self guided.


Anastazi lived on the top of the pueblo and farmed in the valley below.  The volcanic tuff in this area is very soft.  So soft that footpaths have literally worn down into the rock.  The paths that vistors walk are the same paths the Anastazi walked hundreds of years ago.


Unlike Bandelier, Tsankawi is not wheelchair friendly.  Nor it is for the faint of heart.  In places the trail is tight and very steep.

Some of the footpaths are 3 feet deep

Because the rock is so soft and modern shoe soles are relatively hard, some of the paths have worn down several feet.  The sides of the troughs are quite rough and very hard on clothing!

Steps worn into the cliff

The pueblo was on the top of the mesa, so every day the inhabitants climbed down the cliff and then back up in the evening.  In some places the natural handholds and footholds have literally worn into the rock face.



The view from the mesa top is very impressive.  It is amazing that the paths run right along the edges of the steep cliffs.  Where Bandelier is tame Tsanknawi seems downright risky in spots!

IMG_2470We decided that we liked Tsankawi more than Bandelier itself, although they are such different sites it is hard to compare.  Parking for Tsankawi is right at the entrance, which is on the main road heading to White Rock. It is hot, dry, and dusty so take water, and make sure you brush your clothes and shoes off because that fine white volcanic dust will be everywhere.



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