Access by Shuttle Bus Only
Starting May 24, 2013 all access to the most visited part of the park, Frijoles Canyon, will be via a mandatory shuttle bus from the nearby community of White Rock from 9 AM - 3 PM daily. Private cars may drive in before 9 AM or after 3 PM. More »
Frijoles Canyon and Rim Trail
Photo by Sally King
The Bandelier National Monument staff and trail crew is happy to announce that the Frijoles Canyon Trail from Ponderosa campground to the Bandelier Visitor Center is open again. We would like to invite all hikers and trail runners to come enjoy the canyon.
After the Las Conchas fire and subsequent flooding of 2011, the trail through Frijoles Canyon was severely damaged. The Bandelier trail crew, with the help of volunteers, has cleared the trail, and in places where the trail was completely washed away and have put in a route marked with rock cairns and flagging to guide hikers. The trail is not quite as easy as it used to be, so you can expect a little more of a challenge. The creek crossings are a little more rugged, so expect to do some scrambling. Also come prepared to get your feet wet as there are no bridges across the creek. Hiking poles may be a good idea to help with your balance in some areas.
Please note: Conditions are subject to change, depending on summer rains.
The part of the canyon around Upper Crossing burned hot in the Las Conchas fire, however; once you go down the canyon a mile or so you begin to get out of the burned area and get back into forested, shady parts of the canyon again. The Narrows are as gorgeous as ever, with its sun dappled cliffs and lively creek. With the floodwater rearranging the canyon bottom, some areas are stunningly beautiful. It is easy to see why some visitors call this "the Oasis of Bandelier".
For those that have hiked this trail before you will notice that a lot of the old landmarks are gone and it will be like exploring a new canyon. For first timers it will almost seem like you are hiking a canyon in Utah, only in your own backyard. Take the time to enjoy the incredible rock formations and relax in the peace and quiet that is becoming so hard to find in our modern world.
Please note: Since the Las Conchas fire, Frijoles Canyon is more susceptible to flash floods. During the monsoon season it is best to be out of the canyon before the afternoon rain.
Here are some options of different ways to access the Frijoles Canyon Trail:
Leave one vehicle at the Visitor Center, then drive another to Ponderosa Campground, hike the trail to the Visitor Center, then drive the car you left back at Ponderosa Campground. This will be about an 8.5 mile hike.
Another option is to park at the Visitor Center, hike the Frijoles Rim Trail to Upper Crossing, then come down Frijoles Canyon to the Visitor Center. This winds up being about a 13 mile loop, so come prepared to spend the day.
Finally; another way is to simply park at the Visitor Center, hike up the canyon, then hike back down to the Visitor Center. The prettiest part of the canyon is about 4 miles up from the Visitor Center so be sure not
If you have questions, the staff at the Visitor Center will be happy to help you. They can also tell you about some of the other great hiking opportunities at Bandelier National Monument. From day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, there is something for everyone, no matter what your physical abilities or skill level.
Photo by Sally King
Did You Know?
Queen butterflies are often mistaken for Monarchs because they look so much alike. This is beneficial to the Queen, who is avoided by predators who fear this look-alike may be as toxic as the Monarch.