With the new snow, and holidays coming up, the rangers at Bandelier are hoping people will come and enjoy the park.
“Winter days can be beautiful in Bandelier,” Park Superintendent Jason Lott said. “Over the holidays, with everyone looking for places to go with family and friends, we hope they’ll come on down.”
The shuttle buses have ended until next March, so visitors can now drive directly to the Visitor Center area. The Visitor Center, bookstore, gift shop and snack bar are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the canyon area.
The Frijoles Canyon section of the park is open except for Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, or in case of hazardous weather conditions.
There will be no Nightwalk this holiday season, but Friday, Dec. 21, the park will offer the annual Winter Solstice Sunrise Walk.
Local Pueblo people, and other groups all over the world, built structures that related to positions of the sun, moon, and stars.
Winter Solstice is important to many cultures, since it is the shortest day of the year and the point when the days begin to lengthen and promise the return of spring.
For anyone standing in the plaza of Tyuonyi Pueblo in Frijoles Canyon on that morning, the entryway walls align with the rising sun.
The ranger-guided walk meets Friday at 7:15 a.m. in front of the Visitor Center to walk up the canyon to Tyuonyi, watch the sunrise, and celebrate the return of the sun.
Everyone is welcome; no reservations are needed. Dress warmly, and avoid slick-soled shoes. If the morning is overcast or snowing, the walk will be rescheduled for Saturday or Sunday morning, whichever day the sun will be visible.
For more information on Bandelier, or to find out Friday morning if the walk has had to be postponed, contact the Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517. For information about the park, check the website at www.nps.gov/band.