The Bandelier backcountry is recovering nicely from the Las Conchas Fire of 2011 which burned more than 60% of the park. Flooding in all park canyons followed, and many trails were damaged or obliterated. Park trail staff have been hard at work making repairs but recurring small floods each year have continued to cause change to the trails and routes. Past landmarks are gone in some areas and some trails may be difficult to follow or the trail is missing. Shade is much less available than in the past, but the viewscape has also changed allowing rock formations and canyon rims to be seen.. 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 encompass many miles and steep rocky switchbacks. There are even several trails suitable for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter. Longer backcountry 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.
photo by Lee Ferril