Many National Parks have a short nature trail that helps visitors to become acclimated with the surroundings. These paths are most often a loop trail that begins somewhere near the park visitor center and the total hiking distance is within a comfortable range. The placards along the trail identify the local flora and fauna, so a little something can be learned while taking a leisurely stroll. Bandelier National Monument has a nice Nature Trail that follows the Rito de los Frijoles through the canyon. The valley floor is fairly level in this area, so hiking this trail compares to taking a walk in a park. The best part is this area is heavily forested, so there is plenty of shade for cooling off when the summer temperatures are at a peak.
The Nature Trail at Bandelier connects with the ancient pueblo trail, which runs along the base of the cliffs on the other side of the creek. Most visitors follow the ancient pueblo trail first, then take the Nature Trail through the forest back to the parking area. Doing the trail in reverse will likely result in having to say hello to hundreds of hikers going in the opposite direction, so it may be best to just go with the flow. Strolling down the cool shady creekside Nature Trail after touring the ancient pueblos is the best way to go, because there are a few picturesque picnic areas along the way that are perfect for taking a lunch break in the shade!
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