Visiting Bandelier in Winter

cloudy sunset moon
Don't let the short days catch you unaware.  Be sure to leave the park before dark.

photo by sally king

Late Autumn/Winter Visitor Center Hours 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Park open from dawn to dusk
Closed Christmas and New Years Days

For part of the year, much of Bandelier is accessible only by a shuttle bus from White Rock. This isn't true in the late autumn and winter. From October 29th until spring visitors can once again access Frijoles Canyon, the park visitor center, and the main archeological sites using their personal vehicle. Visitors can visit Frijoles Canyon from sunrise to sunset. Just be sure to leave before it's dark.

snowy frijoles canyon 2
Snow is important to keeping Bandelier beautiful.

photo by Sally King

Frijoles Canyon gets an average of 25" of snow per season. The mesas get twice that and the highest elevations in the park can get even more snow. If you arrive in Bandelier just after a snow event the Main Loop Trail will be closed to visitors until staff can clear it of snow. Walking on the snow creates ice that continues to be a safety hazard for months. If it has just snowed you may want to sleep in and arrive a bit later to Bandelier. If you come early (after 9 AM but before the snow is cleared) we will let you wait near the fireplace in the visitor center. If it snows enough, the park may even be closed. Call (505)672-3861 X 517 before you leave home to make sure the park is open. Hurray for snowy days. They provide more than half the annual precipitation for most areas of the park. This moisutre is neccessary for Bandelier to stay the beautiful and unique place that it is.

frijoles canyon in winter b
Snow can actually accentuate the forms of the archeological sites.

photo by sally king

Snow can make Bandelier even more special. A dusting, or even a dump, of snow acts to highlight the dwellings. The sun can sparkle like minature diamonds off the ice crystals in the trees. Hairy-earred Abert's squirrels are more active and far more likely to be seen. Be careful walking under trees soon after a snowfall. Snow may dump on you. If you come dressed for the weather conditions you can have an amazing visit to Bandelier in the winter.

More information on some popular trails:
Main Loop Trail
Alcove House
Falls Trail

visitor snow shoer 4
Winter is not just beautiful.  There are some activities that can only occur in winter.

photo by sally king

Last updated: February 19, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


(505) 672-3861 x517

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