The parking lot is full Tuesday at Bandelier Visitor Center. Courtesy/NPS Photo
With beautiful weather, and schools in nearby areas being on spring break, Bandelier is experiencing record visitation. The count at the Visitor Center Tuesday was more than 820, a number more like a busy day in mid-July.
But without the help of the shuttle buses to allow visitors to park their cars in White Rock, and the parking areas across the creek still under construction, parking spaces are at a premium in Frijoles Canyon. On some days people may have to wait in line and then park about a quarter mile away from the Visitor Center, and for a while around midday, people may sometimes be asked to come back later.
“Once they get parked and out onto the trails, everyone has a great day,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said. “Unfortunately the shuttle service can’t start up until mid-May, so parking will be strained for the next few weeks. In the meantime we encourage visitors to try to come before about 10 a.m. or after about 2:30 p.m. to miss the busiest times of day.”
The Visitor Center, Bookstore, Gift Shop and Snack Bar are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week, and the trails to the archeological sites are open dawn to dusk, about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at this time of year. Visitors also might consider exploring parts of the park away from Frijoles Canyon, including the Tsankawi section and the Burnt Mesa and Tyuonyi Overlook trails.
This is a special year at Bandelier and for the National Park Service as well, being the Centennial Year for both. For more information, check out Bandelier’s website at www.nps.gov/band, or its Facebook page, BandelierNPS. For specific questions, call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672-3861 x 517.