Photo by Sally King
Although still very beautiful, Bandelier backcountry was heavily impacted by the Las Conchas Fire of 2011 which burned more than 60% of the park. Massive flooding in all park canyons followed and many trails were destroyed. Park staff has been hard at work making repairs but recurring flooding has made it difficult. Past landmarks are gone and some trails are very difficult to follow. Shade is much less available than in the past. Please check at the visitor center for current conditions before hiking in the backcountry.
Within Bandelier's 33,000 acres there are over 70 miles of trail. Some trails are short easy loops while others can encompasses many miles and steep rocky switchbacks. There are even two trails designated for cross-country skiing in the winter. Longer trails often involve hiking more than 10 miles round-trip. Wilderness permits are available at the visitor center for overnight stays in the park's backcountry. Water is not readily available on most backcountry trails. Check at the visitor center for details. Pets are not permitted on any park trails.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Pueblo people carved petroglyphs into the soft tuff rock above many of the dwellings built along the cliffs.