Why You Need to Visit the Puye Cliff Dwellings

There are so many incredible pieces of history in Northern New Mexico. While Santa Fe is full of unique museums, architecture, and sites, venturing out to the Puye Cliff Dwellings is an experience you won’t forget. Here, you can discover ancient living pueblos carved into the side of a rock dating back over one thousand years. It’s an incredible place to explore during your trip to the City Different if you love history and adventure. 

For more ways to make the most of your time in the Santa Fe area, be sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide! It’s full of the best activities, restaurants, and attractions around town. 

Get the Vacation Guide 

Puye Cliff Dwellings History 

The origins of the Puye Cliff Dwellings date back to the 900s when a group of 1,500 Pueblo Indians constructed multiple levels of living spaces in the side of a canyon wall. The first level of dwellings runs about a mile long, or the mesa’s base, and the second is about 2,100 feet long. A network of pathways and ladders connected both structures cut out of the rock surfaces, allowing the inhabitants to climb to the top of the mesa. Edgar Hewitt found and excavated the beautiful cliff dwelling system in the early 1900s before becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1966. 

Visiting the Puye Cliff Dwellings 

We recommend visiting the Puye Cliff Dwellings in tandem with Bandelier National Monument. Both areas lie near the Pajarito Plateau and the town of Los Alamos. First, take a tour of the cliff dwellings. The visitor center offers several different tours, each specializing in a different theme ranging from adventure to history. You can also explore the dwellings on your own, walking from the Harvey House exhibit up the Roadrunner Trail to the Mesa top.  

After you fully immerse yourself in the thousands of years of local history, you can grab lunch in Los Alamos and check out the Bradbury Science Museum before going for a hike through Bandelier National Monument. This fantastic park is full of even more cave dwellings and ancient housing sitting in scenic canyons. It’s the perfect place to cap off your day of exploring Northern New Mexico’s natural beauty. 

Driving the Puye Cliff Dwellings Scenic Byway 

Puye Cliffs Scenic Byway may only be an eight-mile trip, but the incredible views of the Jemez Mountains in the distance are incredible. Plus, you can get out and explore these ancient cliff dwellings.  

Plan Your Northern New Mexico RetreatChimayo-room1- room in inn 

Head back to your authentic Southwestern-themed room at the Four Kachinas Inn after hiking through our area’s scenic outdoor beauty. Our beautiful Inn is home to a collection of well-appointed rooms filled with locally made art and furnishings. You also receive a delicious complimentary breakfast every morning of your stay that will have you up and ready to explore our incredible destination. 

Start planning your trip today by booking one of our rooms. We look forward to welcoming you to our Northern New Mexico oasis!