Cavate dwelling in Frijoles Canyon. Courtesy/NPS
Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer activities at Bandelier National Monument, and the return of free shuttle bus service from the White Rock Visitor Center area to the Park.
“The shuttles are a partnership between Atomic City Transit, Los Alamos County, and Bandelier,” Superintendent Jason Lott said. “Since the Las Conchas Fire in 2011 and resulting floods, our parking has been very limited. The flood last September made it impossible to get cars to the parking area across the creek, so we had days all spring when many visitors had to wait in line for parking. Throughout the summer, drivers leave their cars at the White Rock Visitor Center, sit back, and take in the scenery on their way to enjoy a day at Bandelier, without worrying at all about finding a place to park.”
The shuttles will be available May 23 through Oct. 27, with the first run leaving at 9 a.m. from White Rock and the last trip returning at 5 p.m. from Bandelie. The buses will run every half hour on week days, and every 20 minutes on weekends.
During the busiest hours of the day, visitors must take the shuttles. Shuttle riders need to remember to carry a photo ID to go along with any park pass they are using, or have means to pay for their entry fee. Those who arrive at the park before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. may drive on in; they must display their pass or entry fee receipt on their dashboard.
During the day there are exceptions, situations in which people are not required to take the shuttle. Visitors who are on official park business, have disability tags on their car, are travelling with a pet, or are overnight backpackers on the day of their hike, and groups traveling in their own van or bus, are permitted to drive into the park throughout the day.
Atomic City Transit provides special buses for the Bandelier trips, quieter than typical buses. They have big windows to accommodate expansive skies and grand scenery. The drivers are specifically chosen and get special training for this route.
The Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of summer activities at Bandelier. This weekend there will be two families of Pueblo people providing crafts demonstrations. The Candelarias from San Felipe Pueblo will be showing pottery and flutes, while the Abeytas from Santo Domingo Pueblo will show jewelry and flintknapping.
Bandelier Visitor Center hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including the movie, bookstore, museum, and information, and the Bandelier Trading gift shop and snack bar next door is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All park trails are open except the washed-away section of the Falls Trail below the Upper Falls; trails are open during daylight hours.
Entry fees are $12 per private vehicle or $12 for everyone who arrives at the White Rock Visitor Center parking area in any given private vehicle. America the Beautiful, Bandelier, Military, Senior and Access passes are honored. For more information about Bandelier, check the website at www.nps.gov/band, the park Facebook page at BandelierNPS, or call the Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517.