Fun Weekend At Bandelier: Fee Free Day, Opera, Lunar Eclipse And Tsankawi Sept. 26-27


The weekend of Sept. 26-27 is going to be very busy and enjoyable at Bandelier National Monument. 

As Superintendent Jason Lott says, “Bandelier is always a great place to visit, but this weekend is going to be extraordinary. Come take a walk on the trails, and then enjoy a really special event each of the evenings.”

For starters, Saturday Sept. 26 is Public Lands Day, a celebration of all the public lands nationwide – National Park Service, US Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and all the others owned by all Americans. This year Public Lands Day is Fee Free – no entrance fees will be charged at Bandelier and nationwide. The next Fee Free Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

Next, that evening is the fourth annual Opera on the Rocks, presented at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater by Opera Alta, Atomic City Transit, and Bandelier National Monument. Featured will be pieces by Mozart, including “Bastien and Bastienna”, written when Mozart was 12, and selections from his famous “Magic Flute”, including the 3 Spirits and Papageno, as well as arias from Tamino and Pamina; all will be sung in English. Tickets are available at, but only through Thursday. 

After that they must be obtained at the door, and campers at Juniper Campground may attend free. Parking is by free shuttle bus only, with runs leaving at 4 p.m. from both Sullivan Field in Los Alamos and the White Rock Visitor Center. Welcome is at 5 p.m., with the opera music beginning at 5:30 p.m. Food vendors will be available, or participants may bring their own snacks. There also will be activities for children. For further information, contact Jorge Maldonado at Bandelier at 505.672.3861 x 713.

And to cap off the weekend, there will be a total lunar eclipse on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 27. The eclipse will begin as the moon is rising, covering more and more of the moon’s face as the night comes on. It will be visible over most of North America, but moon watchers are invited to come to the Juniper Campground Amphitheater at 6:30 p.m., join other eclipse enthusiasts, and have the opportunity to watch the earth’s shadow through telescopes. 

Earlier, at 5 p.m., there will also be a ranger-guided walk at the Tsankawi section of the park in the beautiful evening light. Numbers are limited, so call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517 to sign up. The trail involves rough terrain and several ladders, and participants should bring water. Hikers will be finished in time to also go to the amphitheater and participate in the telescope viewing if they wish.

For details on Fee Free Day, or eclipse activities, sign up for the Tsankawi Sunset Walk, or general information on the park, contact the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517. Information is also available on the park website at, or the park Facebook and Twitter at BandelierNPS.

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