We have been discovering that many National sites other than the big National Parks are well worth your time and effort to visit – Pecos National Historical Park and Bandelier National Monument are two near Santa Fe, NM that quickly found a way into our hearts. Bandelier is probably even in our top three now!
Our visit to Pecos wasn’t planned and sadly was too brief for us to really get a good look at their many sites. In the time that we did have we stopped by the Visitor Center and checked out the closest historic structures that we could drive to. Not only does Pecos have some awesome and awe-inspiring history, it also sits in a stunning valley surrounded on all sides by beautiful green mountains.
The next day we drove up into the countryside near Los Alamos and fell in love with Bandelier National Monument. Driving out there took a long time but it was worth every second of beautiful scenery to get there. The main loop out of the Visitor Center takes you right into the ancient cliffside dwellings where you can climb up ladders and check the spaces out yourself. All of our children were able to poke around and explore the many dwellings, which was a huge win for everyone! And to make the visit even better, the hike back to the parking lot was on the other side of the valley with plenty of shade and great views of the cliffs we had just explored. What an incredible place!