Frey Trail

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 6142 - 6649 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Juniper Campground
Fee: $15/person or $25/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic switchbacks and views




The Frey trail is located in the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico. The trail takes a scenic route across the mesa from the Juniper Campground to the rim of Frijoles Canyon where it descends a series of masterfully crafted switchbacks to the ruins area near the Visitor Center. In the early days the trail, which was named after George and Evelyn Frey who ran the Ranch of the 10 Elders near the Tyuonyi Ruins beginning in 1925, was the only access into Frijole Canyon.


The trailhead is in the shuttle parking lot near the amphitheatre in the Juniper Campground near the entrance to Bandelier National Monument.


From the trailhead a well worn path that is easy to follow heads south across the Frijoles Mesa.


For a short distance the trail travels above a scenic ravine that drains into Frijoles Canyon.


Just past the quarter mile point the trail breaks away from the ravine and continues its course across the mesa where it crosses a Park service road along the way.


As the trail continues across the mesa it trends mostly in the downhill direction.


Just past the 1 mile point the trail turns and begins traveling along another ravine.


After a few hundred more yards the trail reaches the mouth of the ravine overlooking Frijoles Canyon.


From here the first look down reveals the Tyuonyi Pueblo in the floor of the canyon along Frijole Creek. Downstream about a half mile is the Visitor Center.


From there the trail begins its descent into the canyon via a series of memorable switchbacks. Ascending the switchbacks is considered strenuous for casual hikers. The Parks Service calls them steep but seasoned hikers will find the grade more on the moderate side.


Before reaching the bottom there is a nice overlook with a bench where there is a better view of the ruins of the Tyuonyi Pueblo.


The Frey trail comes to an end as it connects to the Main Loop trail. From here the trail to the left leads to the Talus Houses and to the right the trail leads to Long House. There is also another trail a few feet down the trail to the right that leads directly over to Tyuonyi. For this post we were camped at the Juniper Campground where we hiked down the Frey trail to Frijoles Canyon and spent the rest of the day hiking the Main Loop, Nature trail, Alcove House trail and the Falls trail. When we were through we took advantage of the free shuttle for a ride back up to the campground where we finished the day by hiking the Tyuonyi Overlook trail. For those with enough time during their visit to Bandelier National Monument the historic Frey trail is well worth checking out. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.