From Santa Fe, take Saint Francis Drive (Highway 84/285) north toward Los Alamos. After passing Pojoaque, merge right onto New Mexico 502 to Los Alamos. Continue up 502 toward Los Alamos. Bear right and exit onto New Mexico 4 toward White Rock. Continue for 12 miles, passing White Rock. Bandelier’s entrance is on your left. Enter here and purchase your entrance pass at the entrance station. Continue about 100 yards and turn right. The campground is on the left. The group sites are in the Abert’s Squirrel Loop. Travel distance from Santa Fe is 1 hour.
From Taos, take New Mexico 68 (Paseo del Pueblo Sur) south for 47 miles. In Espanola, turn right onto Fairway. Turn left at next stoplight on Highway 84/285. At stoplight near the Ford Dealership, turn right on Highway 30. Follow 30 through Santa Clara Pueblo to junction with Highway 502. Merge right onto 502 toward Los Alamos. Follow directions above. Travel distance from Taos is 1.5 hours.
CAMPING, HIKING, VISITOR CENTER, WILDLIFE VIEWING, DAY USE AREA
For visitors to Bandelier National Monument, Juniper Group Campground is an ideal place to stay. Located just inside the main park entrance, the campground is a short drive from the main visitor center, the Frijoles Canyon Shuttle System, and the adjacent town of Los Alamos. Frijoles Canyon, the visitor center, and many of the park’s trails are only accessible by shuttle bus from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from mid-May to mid-October; however, Juniper Group Campground is open to private vehicles year-round.
Hikers can access two trails directly from Juniper Campground. The Frey Trail descends to the visitor center and Main Loop Trail across an open mesa top with expansive views of the park and surrounding areas. The Tyuonyi Overlook Trail leaves the amphitheater parking area for a 3/4-mile hike to a point overlooking the Tyuonyi Pueblo down in Frijoles Canyon.
Most guests begin their exploration of Bandelier with a walk on the Main Loop Trail. This short 1.2 mile loop trail starts from the visitor center and leads through excavated archeological sites on the floor of Frijoles Canyon. A portion of this trail is accessible.
The visitor center and over 70 miles of trails can be accessed by shuttle bus or car on the off-season, about 3 miles from the campground. Other trails in this area include the 3 mile round-trip Falls Trail to beautiful Upper Falls, and various trails of different lengths and difficulty leading up to the mesa tops.
Although rock climbing is prohibited in Bandelier, many popular climbs are within a short drive up Route 4 into the Jemez Mountains.
Flush toilets, drinking water and a dump station are provided at this facility. All sites are tent-only, depending on its size. Each site has a picnic table and campfire ring. No hookups are available. Each site can accommodate between 10 and 20 people.
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged, beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.
The park is home to over 55 species of mammals, including mule deer, Abert’s squirrels, mountain lions and 16 species of bats. Black bears have also been seen in the park. Birds such as Steller’s jays, canyon towhees and mountain chickadees stay year-round, whereas turkey vultures, western tanagers and black-headed grosbeaks are summer-only residents.
The town of Los Alamos has shopping, museums, amenities, a movie theater, ice rink and ski hill. The YMCA and local swimming pool both have showers for campers. Nearby Department of Energy and Forest Service land provide trails which accommodate pets.