It's spring break and you arrive to find there are no parking spaces available in Frijoles Canyon. They tell you to come back later. Or you don't want to ride the shuttle bus to get to Frijoles Canyon when the shuttle is mandatory. What can you do? Here are some alternatives:
Bandelier National Monument: Other trailheads accessible from Highway 4
Burnt Mesa – 5.6 mile out and back. Easy trail across a sunny and open mesa with panoramic views.
Other Local National Park Service AreasValles Caldera National Preserve: Visit the Valles Caldera, formed by the eruption of a super volcano about 1.25 million years ago. The caldera is ideal for hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more. To reach the Caldera turn left outside of the Bandelier Entrance Station and follow HWY 4 about 15 miles up the road to the west.
Manhattan Project National Historical Park: Learn about the people, places, and science that led to the development of the atomic bomb.
Other Attractions and Trails in the Immediate Vicinity
Reach Los Alamos by turning left when onto HWY 4 from Entrance Road. Los Alamos has several museums to visit, including those listed below. Make sure to check for opening hours.
Pick up a trail guide at the Los Alamos Visitor Center (475 20th St. Suite A, Los Alamos, NM 87544) located in the center of town. Or at the White Rock Visitor Center, 115 State Route 4, the same place you pick up the Bandelier shuttle bus
Department of Energy Trails: The Department of Energy has land throughout the area, with trails located along NM 4. The trails each have small, gravel parking areas and gates with information signs to give you an idea about what to expect and what is and is not allowed on the trail. Most are open to the public, though a few are open only to employees of the National Lab. Dogs are allowed on these trails. Some trails have great views. All trails have chances to see native plants and potentially animals.
Santa Fe National Forest: – The National Forest, located through the area, has many hiking trails and many places to camp should you be looking for a less densely populated, more personal wilderness experience. Campgrounds and hiking trails are located along forest roads throughout the forest. Information about trails in each ranger district, as well as camping information, can be found by speaking with Forest Rangers. The phone number for the Jemez Ranger District is: (505) 438-5300. Dogs are allowed on most of these trails but cattle may be encountered on some.
Last updated: March 26, 2022