Visit Three Diverse National Parks From Los Alamos During National Park Week

Jeremy Smith of the Los Alamos Creative District, part of Los Alamos MainStreet, hangs flags along Central Ave. in honor of National Parks Week, which runs from Saturday, April 16-Sunday, April 24. Los Alamos shares borders with three National Parks including Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve and Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Photo Courtesy LACDC


Los Alamos, New Mexico—the gateway to three National Parks and the place where discoveries are made—is a perfect hub to experience the incredible scenic beauty and history of National Parks for National Park Week. Running Saturday, April 16–Sunday, April 24, National Park Week is a celebration of these national treasures, and with a visit to Los Alamos, you can explore three thrilling, historic, and stunning parks all in one trip.

Los Alamos shares borders with three National Parks including Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve and Manhattan Project National Historical Park. On Saturday, April 16, entrance fees are waived at Bandelier National Monument. Entrance to Manhattan Project National Historical Park and Valles Caldera National Preserve is free of charge.

“As the gateway to three National Parks, Los Alamos serves as a basecamp to explore three unique parks in one visit,” said Kelly Stewart, Marketing Manager for Los Alamos County. “Each park offers a different glimpse into our area’s history, as well as distinct recreation opportunities and adventures. We encourage all to discover these historic areas, get back to nature, and celebrate the amazing gems that are our National Parks.”

To make the most of your visit, plan to stay in Los Alamos, which offers an array of award-winning dining and drinking establishments, museums, and friendly locals to welcome you to the area.

While in town, explore the area’s National Park sites, including:

Bandelier National Monument – An iconic National Park site, Bandelier is beloved by locals and visitors for its history, hiking trails and wildlife. Climb ladders and imagine life as an ancient cliffdweller, view petroglyphs, hike the park’s expansive trail network, or spot local wildlife, including mule deer, short-horned lizards, squirrels and many species of birds.

For visits in the spring, when Bandelier attracts larger crowds, visits in the early morning or late in the day are most enjoyable. Additionally, consider some of the less visited trails, including Burnt Mesa trail (2.5 miles one way) and the Ponderosa Trail into Frijoles Canyon for the adventurous hiker (a 3.5 mile hike one way with a 600 foot climb) to experience a quieter hike.

Valles Caldera National Preserve – A geological wonder, Valles Caldera is one of only seven super volcanoes in the world. With over 89,000 acres, it offers an expansive site for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping and fishing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in the area. Offering unique natural landscapes, it’s also a great spot to capture memorable photographs of your trip and spot wildlife like prairie dogs, elk, black bears and golden eagles.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park – A thrilling adventure for history buffs, unlock the secrets of the “Secret City” on a historic walking tour and learn about the groundbreaking science that ended World War II. To further your immersion into the area’s history and science, explore the Los Alamos History Museum and the Bradbury Science Museum.

“With National Parks that span all interests of science, history, wildlife, and outdoor adventure, a visit to Los Alamos this spring will provide a fun and eventful trip for all families,” added Stewart. “We hope you’ll join us in celebrating National Park Week and see what you can discover in Los Alamos.”

For more information on visiting Los Alamos, go to