The rising sun on Winter Solstice casts shadows aligned with the walls of the entry to Tyuonyi Pueblo. Courtesy/NPS
All over the world, people have kept track of the passing of the seasons with markers built into such things as structures, stones, and the horizon.
At Bandelier National Monument, there are several places that may mark the position of the sun on dates including the solstices and equinoxes, and one of them is the entryway to Tyuonyi, the large pueblo in Frijoles Canyon.
This Saturday, Dec. 21, Winter Solstice will be the annual ranger-guided walk to watch as the sun rises over the canyon walls and casts shadows in alignment with the pueblo’s entry walls. There is no way to be sure that the Ancestral Pueblo people built the village that way on purpose. But Winter Solstice has been an important date to the Pueblo people for centuries, as the sun turns back northward and days begin to lengthen, promising the return of warm days and growing crops.
The walk begins from the front of the Visitor Center at 7:15 a.m. and lasts about an hour; it is level and paved, and only about 400 yards each way. No sign-ups are required. Participants should dress warmly, in layers and warm shoes. If the sky is overcast, the walk will be rescheduled for the next day. For more information, call the Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517.
Information about other events and ongoing activities is available by visiting the Bandelier National Monument website at www.nps.gov/band or the park Facebook page at BandelierNPS.