With the mild weather, Bandelier National Monument will be a popular destination during the holiday period from now until early January. Park staff suggest that visitors may want to consider arriving early, perhaps before 10:30 a.m., to avoid crowded parking lots. In summer another alternative is to arrive in late afternoon.
But with the short days, those arriving around 3 p.m. or later will need to consider that their opportunities to explore will be limited since as the sun goes down behind the canyon walls the air quickly gets much chillier, and it is nearly dark by 5 p.m.
With the low sun angle throughout the day, winter days do provide light that gives the canyon walls richer color, and makes the petroglyphs easier to see, than in summer. Last minute shoppers may find good ideas in the bookstore, and America the Beautiful Annual Passes, good for entry to parks nationwide, or Bandelier Passes, which provide unlimited visits to the park for a year, are other possibilities. Weather permitting, the park will be open during daylight hours every day.
The Bandelier Visitor Center is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. The gift shop and snack bar are closed until March.
For more information, contact the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517, or follow the park Facebook page or Twitter at BandelierNPS.