• Bandelier Short-horned Lizard

    Bandelier

    National Monument New Mexico

October

short-horned lizard

Lizards remain active in October when the days are warm.

photo by sally king

THE NORM
Days are warm but nights are cool to cold. The first snow of the season may fall by month's end. This is usually an excellent time for hiking in the park's backcountry. Fall color starts in the high country and drops to the lower canyons by mid to late month. Although there is only a little red and no orange, gold is the color of the fall here and it is done very, very well. Tarantulas may be seen crossing roadways or trails. Be careful not to accidentally (or purposely) end their precarious search for a mate by running them over or stepping on them. Reptiles are also very active on these final warm days trying to fatten themselves up for the cold winter ahead. Visitation remains high during the first part of the month as many visitors and buses arrive from Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. After Balloon Fiesta visitation drops off sharply and remains slow but steady the rest of the month.
 
colorful aspens

The aspens are almost done showing their splendor in the park's high country.

photo by sally king

OCTOBER 2010
At mid month October has been unseasonably warm and sunny. That is supposed to change quickly with cooler wetter weather moving into the area. Fall color is almost done in the high country and is almost peak in the lower elevations like along the Main Loop Trail. Visitation has been busy but the parking lot is rarely filling. All trails remain open. There have been numerous tarantula sightings on the road and trails as the males search for mates. Watch for them. Abert's Squirrels and coyotes have also been quite active in the area. Sandhill cranes have been heard flying over as they head south for the winter.
 
male tarantula with shadow 4
In autumn male tarantulas are seen along the trails in the riparian and pinyon-juniper zones.  They are seeking a female with which to mate before they die.
photo by sally king
 
black bear mom
Our resident black bear family is still making sporadic appearances on the Main Loop and Falls Trails.  Keep your distance from any wildlife.
photo by sally king
 
coyotes 2
Coyotes are seen in all areas of the park, along the entrance road, and on highway 4 as you approach the park.
photo by sally king

Did You Know?

Dog Petroglyph from Long House

The Ancestral Pueblo people carved petroglyphs into the soft tuff rock above many of the dwellings built along the cliffs.