What I am calling the Long-Burro Loop Beer Hike is a pleasant loop in Frijoles Canyon of the Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier is noted for its large concentration of ancient Puebloan ancestral ruins and there are a lot of them on display throughout this hike. “Long-Burro” is my own name for this route so I doubt that anyone else you ask would know it by this name. Somehow, it evokes an interesting mental image for me.
The route begins at the Bandelier Visitor Center and proceeds up the long, steady climb up the South canyon wall formally known as Long Trail. As you climb, views emerge through the cottonwoods and pines to the extensive complex of cliff dwellings that line the north side of the canyon. Long Trail tops out where it intersects with Frijoles Rim Trail and it is worth a short extension out and back to the west on this trail to get an interesting view of Alcove House. Alcove House is a natural amphitheater containing a reconstructed kiva high on the wall across the canyon. Once home to a small settlement, the alcove can now be reached from the canyon floor by ascending hundreds of feet via ladders and stairs.
The Long-Burro Loop continues back down the mesa to the East on the Frijoles Rim Trail eventually passing an unexcavated ruin called Frijolito Pueblo. You reach the intersection with Burro Trail near the point where a steep, switchbacked trail segment descends back into the canyon to complete the route.
There are many possibilities for extending this hike in nearly every direction. Bandelier comprises 50 square miles (130 km2) of rugged canyons, mesa, and mountains and more than 70% of is designated wilderness. There is over one mile of elevation change from the Rio Grande River to the highest peak. There are more than 70 miles (110 km) of designated hiking trails in the park.
As for beers along the way, I enjoyed a Kachina Throwback Ale from Grand Canyon Brewing in Williams, AZ at the top and a homebrewed ESB at the bottom. The Kachina Ale is an American Wheat Ale – nice and light to quench a hiker thirst.
You may click on any gallery image to see it in a larger format and to open a slideshow viewer that lets you scroll through larger versions of all images. Photos in the gallery were taken during the course of a couple of different iterations of this hike.
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