Plan A Visit to Bandelier National Monument

Plan A Visit to Bandelier National Monument

Posted on March 18, 2024

Looking for a great day trip from the Rio Rancho area? Travel back in time at the Bandelier National Monument, a 33,677-acre United States National Monument near Los Alamos. The monument preserves petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the rock cliffs and evidence of a human presence, the Ancestral Pueblo people, going back more than 11,000 years. By 1550, the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from this area to pueblos along the Rio Grande.

Activities at Bandelier include hiking (more than 70 miles of trails), guided tours with a ranger, cross-country skiing, bird watching and camping. Call the visitor center for more information on guided tours at 505-672-3861, then press 0.

Here’s your chance to view cavates, a combination of the words cave and excavate, listed among the Most Endangered Places in New Mexico. The Ancestral Pueblo people built cavates out of crumbly volcanic tuff and used blackened ceilings (soot stains) believed to help seal the tuff and help prevent grit and dirt from constantly sifting down onto the floor.

Bandelier National Monument is home to more than 55 species of mammals including sixteen species of bats, mule deer, Albert’s squirrels and mountain lions. Birds include Steller’s Jays, Canyon Towhees, and Mountain Chickadees who stay year-round whereas Turkey Vultures, Western Tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks are summer-only residents. There are also six species of owls and many butterfly species.

Through science and research, Bandelier seeks to understand, maintain, restore and protect the Monument’s unique natural and cultural resources. Bandelier currently has several ongoing science studies and research projects.

Check the National Park Service website for COVID-19 precautions and updates before you go. Enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful Bandelier!

Location: 15 Entrance RD, Los Alamos, NM, about 77 miles from Rio Rancho

Hours: Open daily year-round, except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, except during heavy snow days or other emergencies. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fees: 7-Day Auto Pass is $25, motorcycle pass is $20, individual pass is $15, Children 15 and younger are free. Annual Pass is $45. 80% of fees collected at Bandelier stay in the park and are used to complete projects that improve the visitor experience, enhance recreation opportunities, restore cultural and natural resources, and address deferred maintenance projects


Looking for a new home or custom homesite near Albuquerque? Just about 80 miles from Bandelier National Monument is Mariposa, a master-planned community 30 minutes north of Albuquerque in the appealing town of Rio Rancho. Near so much of what New Mexico offers, Mariposa is designed for living naturally. Mariposa and offers a fully equipped fitness center, indoor lap pool and outdoor pools, parks, sports courts, miles of trails, abundant open space and endless views at the 2,200-acre Mariposa Preserve and surrounding mountains. Learn more at

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