Bandelier National Monument

Please click on the following link for the official Bandelier National Monument Junior Ranger web page:

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My family visited Bandelier National Monument on April 9, 2009. Their Junior Ranger web page states that their new Junior Ranger Booklets are not back from the printers yet; however, they did have them available when we visited.

The Junior Ranger program at Bandelier is free and open to all ages. To participate, the prospective Junior Ranger picks up a booklet at the Visitor Center and fills in the questions while visiting the museum, slide show, and main loop trail. Upon returning to the Visitor Center, a ranger will go over the work with the Junior Ranger. Upon completion, the Junior Ranger will receive a Bandelier Junior Ranger patch.

One thing I really liked about the Bandelier Junior Ranger program is that it also has a program for adults, called Deputy Rangers. Upon completion, the Deputy Ranger will receive a Bandelier Deputy Ranger patch.

Bandelier National Monument has a different workbook for the following ages. Please click on a link to download a copy of the workbook for the specific age group:
• Pre-K to 1st Grade
• 2nd to 3rd Grade
• 4th to 6th Grade
• 7th Grade and Up

In this blog, I am not going to discuss the specific activities we completed. Both of my daughters completed the Pre-K to 1st Grade booklet and I completed the Deputy Ranger Booklet. Instead I am going to talk about the Bandelier Junior Ranger program and our visit to the monument.

By far, the Junior Ranger program at Bandelier is one of the best designed programs I have seen. They have age appropriate material for all age groups. Families are encouraged to re-visit the monument to complete new booklets and receive a different Junior Ranger patch for that age group. The booklets incorporate the museum, slide show and main loop trail.

As I completed my booklet, I shared my answers and activities with the girls. They really enjoyed dad participating with them in the Junior Ranger program. When we completed our booklets, we all returned to the visitor center, took the Junior Ranger and Deputy Ranger Pledge and received our patches. Please see below for a scanned picture of the patches.

Bandelier National Monument was an amazing place. You get to see remnants of a pueblo, explore cliff dwellings and see petroglyphs. We actually climbed a ladder and sat in a cliff dwelling for several minutes and worked on the Junior Ranger booklets.

After completing the Junior Ranger program, we hiked on the Falls Trail. We hiked to the Lower Falls, which was about four miles round trip. About a half mile past the Lower Falls is the Rio Grande. We decided to pass on the Rio Grande because in November 2008, several feral cattle had died and the carcasses were still decomposing. This was a fairly easy hike for my children, with a slight elevation change.

On our way back to the visitor center we saw a brown bear near the creek around marker 7. The bear continued up the creek and we lost sight of it around marker 5. When we got back to the visitor center, my oldest daughter reported the sighting to a ranger.

Overall, it was a really great trip and I look forward to returning when my girls are older.

I would like to thank the staff at Bandelier National Monument. Everyone we encountered was extremely friendly and very helpful when we asked questions.