Bandelier and Northern Pueblos
Distance: 145 miles/235 KM
Time: 7-8 hours
Route: From Taos Plaza, Paseo del Pueblo Norte northeast to Taos Pueblo, take Hwy 68 to south of Española, Hwy 502 west to Hwy 4 to Bandelier, Hwy 30 north to Santa Clara Pueblo, Hwy 502 east to San Ildefonso Pueblo. The remaining Pueblos are along or near Hwys 84/285 and 68 between Santa Fe and Taos.
Prepare to enter a foreign world of sovereign nations with their own languages, traditions and customs. You will be a guest on Indian lands during this exploration of ancient and contemporary Indian culture. Start your tour by visiting Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage site that has been continuously inhabited for centuries. The largest existing multi-storied Pueblo structure in the United States, Taos Pueblo holds within its mud and straw adobe walls a way of life little changed by the passage of time.
After your visit to Taos Pueblo, drive to Bandelier National Monument for a chance to learn more about the Anasazi, ancient ancestors to Pueblo Indians. Bandelier's Visitors Center has excellent exhibits and an interpretive film on the Anasazi who occupied the area from 1050 to 1550 A.D. A short hike from the Visitors Center are Pueblo ruins, underground kivas in the canyon floor and rooms carved out of soft volcanic rock high in the canyon walls. Bandelier also has several wonderful nature trails.
After Bandelier, visit any seven of the living Pueblos clustered around this area: San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Tesuque, Pojoaque, Nambe and Picuris. Each Pueblo has distinct art forms including weaving, pottery, beadwork, painting, drum making, carving and jewelry, as well as different feast days and dances open to the public. For more details, pick up the "Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Guide," available at Taos Visitor Center. This guide also has a helpful section on appropriate modes of conduct while visiting the Pueblos.
Download Tour Map PDF (1.2 MB)
Pictured: Taos Pueblo (above) and Bandalier National Park