Visiting in Summer

A view of a canyon with big rocks, green trees, and a blue sky with white clouds.
Summer is a popular time to visit Bandelier, but make sure you're prepared beforehand.

NPS / Sally King



A summer visit to the desert requires extra preparations and considerations before even leaving the house!

  • Plan your park activities ahead of time. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back; there is no cell service.
  • Start early or plan to hike in the late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check the weather forecast. Stay flexible and be ready to change plans if there is an excessive heat warning or a large storm in the forecast.
  • Check the air quality index (AQI) and limit outdoor activity if it’s over 100. The air quality is much worse in the summer than the winter.
  • Bring extra water and snacks for the entire day. There are water bottle stations at the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center, Falls Trail, Frey Trail, Cottonwood Overflow Parking Lot. There is also water for purchase at the restaurant and park store.
  • Bring and wear sunglasses, long sleeves, loose-fitting clothing, a hat, and sunscreen.
  • Our bees are very active in the summer, so if you have a bee allergy, consider changing your visit to the winter season or make sure your allergy medication is readily available.
A green, white, and orange bus.
Bandelier shuttle bus.



Bandelier National Monument's shuttle is seasonally operated, typically running from mid-May to mid-October. The shuttle is mandatory from 9 am to 3 pm daily and picks up at the White Rock Visitor Center and brings you to the park. The shuttle buses run every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends. The last shuttle leaves the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center at 5 pm. These shuttles are operated in partnership with Atomic City Transit in Los Alamos County.

There is no charge for riding the shuttle but all normal entry fees still apply for entering the park. Fees are based on the vehicle visitors arrive to the shuttle in, which is not a per person basis usually. All visitors are required to check in at the Bandelier Visitor Center when they arrive in the park.

Are there exceptions to taking the shuttle?

Yes. Shuttle exceptions include:

  • Visitors can drive in before 9 am and after 3 pm
  • Bicycles
  • Anyone with Handicap Placard
  • Anyone seeking an Overnight Backcountry Permit
  • All Commercial Groups
  • Educational Groups in a Bus or Van
  • Anyone on Official Park Business
  • Campers only going to Juniper Campground or the Juniper Campground Shuttle Stop

Why is there a shuttle?

Bandelier National Monument began utilizing a mandatory shuttle in Summer 2012 to help alleviate parking congestion and to prevent the need to turn cars around when the parking lots were full. The shuttle allows the park to accomodate more visitors.

Does the shuttle take me directly to Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites?

No. The shuttle only provides transportation between the White Rock Visitor Center and the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center during the busy season (typically mid-May to mid-October).

Can I drive anywhere else in the park?

Yes. You can still drive into a number of areas of the park any time of the day including Juniper Campground, Tsankawi, and to the many trails outside of Frijoles Canyon located along NM Highway 4. Remember the park closes at sunset, so plan to leave before that time.


Bandelier National Monument Shuttle Schedule

Bandelier shuttle schedule
Bandelier National Monument shuttle schedule.
A graphic reading: Don't let heat be what ruins your trip! Hike smart: Hike before 10am or after 4pm; Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat; Drink plenty of water; Eat salty snacks; Rest often in the shade.
Be prepared when visiting the park!


Summer Heat & Sun

The heat adds increased risk to any summer activity in the park: driving, hiking, sightseeing, camping, photography, and more.

  • Check the weather forecast and park alerts. Check the weather conditions for extreme heat alerts and stop by the visitor center before visiting the park.
  • Take time to acclimate to high altitudes. Your body loses more fluids at high altitudes, increasing your risk of dehydration and heat-related illness. Allow several days to acclimate before starting any strenuous exercise.
  • Pick the right activity for your abilities. Use the Plan Your Visit section to pick an activity.
  • Pace yourself. Start your hike slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Take plenty of breaks. Rest in the shade or cool down in air conditioning.
  • Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated and drink before you feel thirsty. Plan to bring extra water, just in case you need it. Sports beverages can help replace salt and minerals lost from sweat.
  • Wear sun protection. UVA/UVB sunscreen, a hat, lightweight and light-colored clothing, and sunglasses are recommended.
  • Do not leave children or pets in a parked vehicle. The temperature in a car can rise very quickly!
  • Learn about heat-related illnesses. Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and how to treat them. Call 911, or if there is no cell service, find a ranger to help.

Where can I get water?

Water bottle fill stations are located at Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center, Falls Trail, Cottonwood Overflow Parking Lot, and Frey Trail. Please enter the park prepared with plenty of water stored in your car and/or backpack.

Rattlesnakes are highly active in summer.

NPS / Sally King

Wildlife in the Summer

The heat affects the park’s wildlife, including rattlesnakes, which are highly active in the summer.

  • Stay on trails and watch where you walk to avoid stepping on rattlesnakes. Don't forget to pay attention to the bushes to the side of the trail.
  • Take great care to avoid placing hands and feet in any nooks or cracks, whether around vegetation or in rocks.
  • Bees look for water in the summer and are attracted to any moisture source, including your sweat, do not swat at them; they might sting you. If camping, keep water sources in your car, even closed water bottles.
  • If you see a rattlesnake, keep your distance! On average, a rattlesnake can strike up to a distance of about two-thirds of its body length. For example, a six-foot rattlesnake could potentially strike from approximately four feet away.
  • Let a park ranger know right away if you see a rattlesnake on or near a trail. Do not attempt to move it or harass it.

Last updated: July 9, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Road

Los Alamos, NM 87544


505 672-3861 x0

Contact Us