Atomic City Transit shuttle bus making one of the last runs between White Rock and Bandelier National Monument for 2015. Courtesy/NPS Photo
After making runs between Bandelier and White Rock 18 times a day, and 24 on weekends, since late May, the Atomic City Transit shuttle service wraps up for this season at the end of the day Tuesday, Oct. 27.
After that visitors will be able to drive directly to the Bandelier Visitor Center parking lot all through the day.
“After the Las Conchas Fire in 2011 resulted in flashfloods that made much of our parking area unusable, we had to come up with an alternative so the public could visit Bandelier without waiting for hours to find a parking space,” Superintendent Jason Lott said. “Thanks to our partnership with Los Alamos County and Atomic City Transit, we have had free, safe, and reliable shuttle service during the past five busy seasons. Current plans call for the shuttles to begin again next May.”
A contractor has been working since August on the flood-damaged picnic and parking area on the far side of the creek, cleaning up the flood debris and preparing to construct a concrete box culvert to provide car access.
Now with the arrival of winter weather, it will likely be spring before the work can be completed. Even getting back about 45 spaces in the picnic area, there will not be room enough to accommodate all visitors on busy weekends, holidays, and the summer peak season, so the shuttles will still be necessary.
The Bandelier Visitor Center will remain open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., along with the Bandelier Trading gift shop and snack bar, while the trails are open dawn to dusk. The White Rock Visitor Center will transition to winter hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 1.
For more information about Bandelier National Monument, check the website, www.nps.gov/band, Facebook or Twitter at BandelierNPS, or call the park Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517.