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 damaged or destroyed. Park trail staff has been hard at work making repairs but recurring flooding each year since has continued to cause extensive damage. Past landmarks are gone and some trails are very difficult to follow or completely destroyed. 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 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 kevin stillman