An Atomic City Transit shuttle bus brings visitors to Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS
Each year, the Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season at Bandelier National Monument, and this year the activities will actually begin Friday.
As part of New Mexico Heritage Preservation Month, Bandelier’s Preservation Program Manager will be presenting a walk Friday, May 22, focused on the changing cultural landscape of Frijoles Canyon. It will be an easy walk to the main archaeological sites, about one half mile each way, and begin at 1:00 at the Visitor Center. There is no charge for the program and no signups are needed.
The Atomic City Transit shuttle buses will begin Saturday, May 23, running from the White Rock Visitor Center to the Bandelier Visitor Center every 20 minutes on weekends and every half hour weekdays. The first bus leaves White Rock for Bandelier at 9 a.m. and the last one leaves Bandelier at 5 p.m. for White Rock. Shuttle riders who have entrance passes should remember to bring them along.
The buses are necessary due to the extremely limited amount of parking available in the park. Visitors leaving on overnight backpack trips, those with disability tags, pets, or business in the park, and groups in their own buses or vans, do not have to park at White Rock but can drive down to the Visitor Center. Anyone can drive in before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. daily. The shuttle service will continue into October.
The first of the summer’s weekend crafts demonstrations will feature the Candelaria family from Santo Domingo Pueblo, potters, and the Abeyta family, also from Santo Domingo, with jewelry and flintknapping.
And the weekly Saturday evening Night Sky programs will continue at 8 p.m. at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater. Weather permitting, these programs begin with an astronomy presentation showcasing striking visuals of planets, stars, galaxies, and other features of the reaches of space, followed by viewing the real things through a variety of telescopes. Campers and non-campers of all ages are welcome.
The Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week, as are the Bookstore, Gift Shop and Snack Bar. Trails are open dawn to dusk. Entrance fees are $12 per private vehicle, and Senior, Access, Military, Interagency, and Bandelier passes are honored and are also available for purchase.
For more information, call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517, check the park website at www.nps.gov/band, or follow the Facebook page at BandelierNPS.