Autumn in Bandelier

looking out a small carved doorway a stone pueblo and golden trees can be seen
View out of one of the cavates (human carved caves) along the Pueblo Loop Trail.

Photo by Sally King

Autumn is a great time to visit Bandelier. A lot of people think so, so don't expect the park to be deserted. In fact, fall is often the busiest time of the year at Bandelier. Plan ahead. Come early in the day or late. Don't come mid-day or the parking lots may be full and you'll have to leave to come back later.

WHY IS AUTUMN A GREAT TIME TO VISIT BANDELIER?

The hot days of summer are over and the snow of winter has yet to arrive. Plan for highs in the 50's and 60's with lows in the 30's and 40's. Fall tends to greet visitors with blue skies, lots of sun (don't put away that sunscreen just yet), and puffy white clouds. A photographer's dream. Add golden leaves and the views (even just on the Pueblo Loop Trail) can be just spectacular.
 
a hairy tarantula walks across a rock

Photo by Sally King

Just because autumn days are often warm and sunny doesn't mean we can't get rain. So always be prepared. Snow can come as early as Labor Day but a first snow is far more common around Halloween. Some years it doesn't even snow until Thanksgiving.

If you like wildlife, especially creepy crawlers, fall is the season of the migration of the tarantulas, as males leave their burrows in search of females. For those of you not so enamored of spiders, don't worry. The Pueblo Loop Trail is wide and paved making it easy to step around these amorous arachnids. Please don't hurt them. They are just looking for a love.
 
various colorful trees against a blue sky
In the high country, aspens add the color.

Photo by Sally King

Fall color begins first with the aspens in the higher elevations of the park then moves downhill to the cottonwoods in Frijoles Canyon. At higher elevations be aware of the elk rut. It can be an amazing experience to hear the bugling of a bull elk but is a very different experience to meet the romantic dude face to face. Not so easy to step around as an amorous male tarantula.
 
a male elk with big antlers
It is best to keep your distance from bugling bull elks.

BULL ELK

Last updated: October 12, 2021

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544

Phone:

(505) 672-3861 x0

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