Puye Cliff Dwellings

After a self-imposed two-year travel hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, it’s good to be traveling again. On a recent 10-day trip to northern New Mexico, I learned of a fascinating cliff dwelling site called Puye. Visiting, it turned out to be one of highlights of the trip. The ancient site has a visitor center and guided tours which are led by Santa Clara Pueblo members, all decendants of the Puye people.

Our tour, on a very warm day, was led by Samantha Moquino, a pueblo member whose ancestors lived in the shelters that were carved out of the cliffs and in the structures built on the mesa top. The Puye cliffs are 200 feet high, comprised of a soft, volcanic tuff meaning compressed ash and rock. That softness allowed for excavation. Visitors can choose to be driven to the top and climb down, or climb up using ladders and carved out routes up the cliff face. The cave level stretches out for a mile.

Samantha was an excellent guide and interpreter who managed to bring the cliff dwellings to life, infusing the historical facts with anecdotes and perspectives from her own life. Puye is located in Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo lands, northwest of Santa Fe. Between the years 900 and 1580, it was home to more than 1,500 people. It was abandoned in the 1600s. Today it is a National Historic Landmark.

Here is a quick look at Puye Cliff Dwellings. Click the CC button on the player to see captions.

For more information go to: https://puyecliffdwellings.com/

About Howard Meyerson

After more than 30 years in the outdoor writing business, you would think I'd know better.
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2 Responses to Puye Cliff Dwellings

  1. Arvor Life says:

    This is an excellent article that covers a great topic. I really enjoyed reading it and I am excited to learn more about this interesting cliff dwelling site.
    Charlotte 🌿
    http://www.arvorlife.com 🌊


  2. Thank you Charlotte. It’s a fascinating place.


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