Tsankawi Ruins

(White Rock NM)
The ancient native ruins and trail at Tsankawi is part of Bandalier National Monument, although distant from the main part. The ancestral Tewa peoples that dwelled there were related to the current San Ildefonso Pueblo which is nearby.

Tsankawi Ruins

Tsankawi Ruins – Ladder on Trail

It sat atop a mesa accessed by a trail going up paths that have been used for centuries. Deep ruts have been formed by repeatedly following the same tracks. At some spots a ladder was needed to reach the next level.

Tsankawi Ruins

Well Worn Path

Tsankawi Ruins

Deep Cut in Rock on the Trail

Tsankawi Ruins

Rubble from Pueblo Ruins

Little is visible of the main pueblo (much not excavated); just piles of rocks and parts of walls are scattered around. Originally it had two stories with about 275 rooms on the ground floor. A recess and retaining wall was likely a cistern to capture water. It could be that some of the deep grooves were part of a water distribution system.

Tsankawi Ruins

Rock Staircase worn in the Cliff

Tsankawi Ruins

Petroglyphs along the Trail

Tsankawi Ruins

Caves in the Cliff Wall

After crossing the mesa, a ladder or ancient rock staircase took me down over the side of a cliff. There could be seen many small caves or cavates in the cliff. Larger ones would have had stone walls enclosing them to protect contents; most likely supplies and food storage.

Tsankawi Ruins

Rocks on the Trail Ledge

Tsankawi Ruins

Return Trail

Tsankawi Ruins

Scenery around the Ruins Site

The return trail followed a ledge below the cliff, but still far above the floor below. They may have had crop fields down there. Along the way were some petroglyphs. Expansive views of the surrounding canyons were impressive. I believe the trail was about three miles roundtrip.

Camp: Santa Fe NF-Frijoles Ridge boondock
Scene: Ruins, trail, mesa, cliffs

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8 Responses to Tsankawi Ruins

  1. john larner February 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

    Very interesting …

    • Pleinguy February 4, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

      Yeah, a pretty nifty place.

  2. Bradford Harris February 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi Pleinguy! That scenery is beautiful. I found the information about the water storage interesting. I imagine every drop is precious.

    • Pleinguy February 4, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

      No water equals no life. In their time (about 1400) there would have been more moisture though. Possibly a stream below the mesa.

  3. Gumo February 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    Awesome! I’ve been to Bandalier several times but never knew of this site. I hope I can make it there sometime to see it in person. Thanks!

    • Pleinguy February 4, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

      Worth the side trip if you like historic sites.

  4. Barney Ward February 4, 2018 at 6:55 pm #

    WOW! Pleinguy that is a neat place I need to look it up for a visit. Thanks for the report.

  5. Pleinguy February 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm #

    Glad to be of help, Barney.

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