Bandelier National Monument, near Los Alamos, New Mexico, protects Ancestral Pueblo archeological sites, a diverse and scenic landscape, and the country's largest National Park Service Civilian Conservation Corps National Landmark District.
Bandelier was designated by President Woodrow Wilson as a National Monument on February 11, 1916, -- named for Adolph Bandelier -- a Swiss-American anthropologist who researched the cultures of the area and supported preservation of the sites.
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.
The Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE. They built homes carved from the volcanic tuff and planted crops in mesatop fields. Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet, supplemented by native plants and meat from deer, rabbit, and squirrel. Domesticated turkeys were used for both their feathers and meat while dogs assisted in hunting and provided companionship.
Over 70% of the Monument is wilderness, with over one mile elevation change, from about 5,000 feet along the Rio Grande to over 10,000 feet at the peak of Cerro Grande on the rim of the Valles Caldera, providing for a wide range of life zones and wildlife habitats. There are three miles of road, and more than 70 miles of hiking trails.
The park infrastructure was developed in the 1930s by crews of the Civilian Conservation Corps and is a National Historic Landmark for its well-preserved architecture. The National Park Service cooperates with surrounding Pueblos, other federal agencies, and state agencies to manage the park.