Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Bandelier National Monument is increasing recreational access to Frijoles Canyon. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
During this first phase, Frijoles Canyon will reopen on Monday, June 8, 2020 to 50% capacity, based on the number of parking spots available. Visitors may be required to return at a later time or encouraged to recreate in other areas in Bandelier or the surrounding areas when this capacity is reached. Expect construction, delays, and closures on the Entrance Road, Main Loop Trail and in other areas.
Following state guidance https://www.nmhealth.org/publication/view/rules/5919/, group sizes are limited to 5 people. In order to abide by this guidance and due to limited parking and lack of drop off areas, large vehicles including buses, cannot be accommodated during this first phase. This will also alleviate pressure and congestion due to construction on the Main Loop Trail and paving on the Entrance Road as well as promote additional opportunities for social distancing.
A staffed, outdoor information table in front of the Frijoles Canyon Visitor Center will be available between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily, to provide orientation information and answer questions.
Entrance fees will be waived. The following areas continue to be available for day use:
- Burnt Mesa
- Apache Springs
- Cerro Grande
- Alamo Boundary
- Ski Trails
- Ponderosa Trail
- Bandelier Wilderness
With public health in mind, the following facilities and services remain closed at this time:
- Frijoles Canyon Visitor Center
- Ponderosa and Juniper Campgrounds
- Alcove House and the cavates
- Bandelier Shuttle Bus System
“Visiting Frijoles Canyon early in the morning or later in the afternoon are great options for avoiding congestion.” added Acting Superintendent, Scott McFarland.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Bandelier, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and work spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders from the New Mexico Department of Health https://cv.nmhealth.org/, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
We have amazing virtual tours of Bandelier, available all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out https://www.nps.gov/band/mvirtual.htm
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website https://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.