For large groups visiting Bandelier National Monument, the group campsites at Juniper Family Campground are the ideal place to stay. Juniper Family Campground has two group sites that can hold 10-20 campers. Located just inside the main park entrance, the campground is a short drive from the Visitor Center, the Frijoles Canyon Shuttle bus system, and the adjacent town of Los Alamos. The campground has indoor restrooms with running water but no showers, picnic tables, grills, firerings, and food lockers. A trailhead is accessible from the campground as well.
From mid-May to mid-October, the Shuttle bus system is in service, running between the Visitor Center in Frijoles Canyon, the amphitheater parking area in Juniper Family Campground, and the White Rock Visitor Center in White Rock, NM. Access into Frijoles Canyon and the Visitor Center is by shuttle bus only and private vehicle traffic is prohibited. Campers at Juniper Family Campground are permitted to drive into the campground.
Bandelier is home to over 70 miles of hiking trails most of which are located within federally designated wilderness. Two trails are accessible directly from Juniper Family Campground. The Frey Trail follows the historic route into Frijoles Canyon and descends down the canyon wall to the Visitor Center and the Main Loop Trail. The Tyuonyi Overlook Trail leaves the amphitheater parking area for a 3/4-mile hike across the open mesa top to an overlook providing breathtaking views of Frijoles Canyon and of Tyounyi, an ancestral Pueblo village.
The Visitor Center houses museum exhibits, park film, information and ranger programs, Western National Parks Association sales outlet, and more. Entrance to Frijoles Canyon and the Visitor Center is by shuttle bus only (or by hiking) from mid-May to mid-October. These areas are accesibile by private vehicle outside the shuttle bus period.
Although rock climbing is prohibited within Bandelier National Monument, many popular climbs are within a short drive up Route 4 into the Jemez Mountains.
Restrooms with running water and water spigots with potable water are centrally located in the Juniper Family Campground loops. Picnic tables, firerings, grills, and food lockers are provided at both group campsites. No hookup campsites are available. Shade is limited. There is an RV dump station on the road into the campground, however water at the dump station is turned off during winter months (no filling water tanks or dumping: mid-October to mid-April). During the summer months a camp host is present in the campground. Each group campsite is for tent camping only and has ample space for mulitple tents. Only one (1) RV or trailer is permitted per site. Each site can accommodate 10-20 campers.
The Frijoles Canyon shuttle system (mid-May to mid-October) includes a stop at the Amphitheater parking area located in the Juniper Family Campground. The shuttle can be ridden free of charge and offers service into Frijoles Canyon, stopping at the Visitor Center. Private vehicle traffic into Frijoles Canyon is prohibited while the shuttle is in service.
During the summer months, interpretive programs may be offered during the day at the Visitor Center and in the evening at the Amphitheater located in the campground. Check the Visitor Center for program schedule.
Check-in time for campground is 4:00 pm.
Check-out time for the campround is 11:30 a.m.
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged, beautiful canyon and mesa country which features evidence of human presence 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.
Bandelier National Monument sits at the southern end of the Pajarito (Spanish for little bird) Plateau. The plateau was formed by two eruptions 1.6 and 1.4 million years ago. Home to the Bandelier Wilderness, Bandelier ranges from 5340 ft at the Rio Grande River to the south and 10,199 ft at the summit of Cerro Grande to the north, almost a mile of elevation change in just under 12 miles. This elevation gradient creates a unique diversity of habitats specific to Northern New Mexico. The diversity of habitats and quick access to water supported a relatively large population of Ancestral Pueblo people. Currently, Piñon-Juniper woodlands dominate in the southern parts of the park transitioning through ponderosa pine savannahs and forests, finally reaching mixed conifer forests at the highest elevation. Scattered throughout the park are desert grasslands, montane meadows, and riparian areas in the canyon bottoms. Over 70 miles of trails at Bandelier climb in and out of deep canyons and cross large flat mesas, showcasing the entire spectrum of volcanic geology and ecosystems found within the park.
The park is home to over 55 species of mammals including mule deer, Abert's squirrels, mountain lions, black bears, and 16 species of bats. Replitles and amphibians of all shapes and sizes can be seen. 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 residents.
The town of Los Alamos has shopping, museums, amenities, a movie theater, ice rink, ski hill, and is home to Manhattan Project National Historic Site.
Nearby Department of Energy and US Forest Service lands provide trails which accommodate pets.
Valles Caldera National Preserve is 16 miles west of Bandelier.
Jemez Historic Site is 37 miles west.
Pecos National Historical Park is 70 miles southeast.
Santa Fe, 40 miles south of the park, is home to the New Mexico state capitol, museums, historic districts, art galleries, food, accomodations, and more.
ADA Access: N
Before I visited here in December I had not heard of Bandelier NM; it's a wonderful place for exploring outside Santa Fe and Juniper Campground provides rustic sites without hookups (dump station and water available, though the dump station is closed in winter). Because it was December, we could drive into the park; in peak season there are shuttle buses that take you to the visitors center. There are no reservations except for the group sites. You'll need to pay with a credit card at the campground or pay cash at the visitor's center. You'll also need to pay an entrance fee for Bandelier NM unless you have or purchase a National Parks Pass. With a senior or an Access pass, you'll get a 50% discount on the already low fees.
Sites are sunny and open with scrub trees providing an element of privacy between sites. Parking pads have been recently paved. Bearboxes are provided. Bathrooms provide flush toilets, sinks, and hand dryers, but no showers. Although pets are allowed, if you plan to do any hiking, you'll want to leave them home. High elevation, so it's cold in winter and may have snow.
I would stock up on supplies on my way out of Santa Fe (about an hour away) or Albuquerque; or in Los Alamos from the North. There are a number of other national monuments in the area and Santa Fe is a nice small city to explore.
We stayed here for a week and a half in the middle of June 2019. We are a 30 ft travel trailer with a Ram 2500. I’d say between all three loops, there were probably 8-10 sites where we would fit. Some of those spots were taken when we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, but we were able to snag spot#9 on the Abert’s Squirrel loop. It was one of the few pull through sites. Not the easiest site to navigate or level, but we made it work and had plenty of room to park the truck in front. The campground was a little tight for us so I’d think anything much bigger(40’ is probably pushing it) than us will have some trouble getting around. Some of sites were questionable as far as level as well. No hook-ups at any of the spots but there is a dump station near the entrance with potable water. There are also potable water spigots throughout the campground. Conveniently, there was a spigot right by us. Very easy to fill jugs. There are shower houses and toilets, but never went to see how nice they were. The campground was about half full most of the time we were there. Very quiet and everyone respected quiet hours. You pay for sites at a self-pay station with credit card only. We tried to book for 11 nights and it wouldn’t take it, so apparently the self-pay is only good for a charge less than$100. If you want to extend your stay, you can either wait until noon(some things said 11:00 so not sure which is correct) and pay at the kiosk(it must be completed after check-out) or you can write a note that you are extending and pay later. Sites are$12/night unless you have a national park senior or access pass then they are$6/night. It is$25 to enter the park(7-day pass), but we have the annual park pass. There is a camp host on Abert’s Squirrel loop, but we didn’t interact with them so can’t say how friendly they were. Our spot#9 was perfect for solar, no obstructions at all. Most of the other sites we saw at least had some potential for shade. The Coyote Loop seemed to have the most potential for shade; although, the other loops had shady spots as well. Even if you stay at the campground, Bandelier is only accessible by shuttle from 9am-3pm. However, there is a hiking trail that will take you from the campground to the ruins. We did that then hiked the trails down there. You can also hike back up to the campground, but we opted to take the shuttle instead. The last shuttle leaves the visitor center at 5pm. There are other things to do in the area as well. The towns, White Rock and Los Alamos, are nearby and both have services should you need them. The road up to the campground(Hwy 4) is bumpy! First paved road we have ever been on that was washboard. Nothing major, just annoying. The portion of the road to Los Alamos and Jemez Springs was nice. We figure the road damage is due to the shuttles. Weather is a bit unpredictable; rain clouds move in fast, but they move out fast too. We had several TV channels so were able to stay up to date with the weather. AT&T signal was not good with only 1 bar LTE without the booster and not much better with it. It was enough to WIFI call and do some light searching, but uploading photos was too slow. Verizon was good with about 2-3 4G LTE without the booster, and 4 bars with it. I was able to work remotely with the Verizon hotspot. Overall, it was a great place to stay and we would stay again.
Nice quiet place within the monument. Shuttle bus takes you to visitor center Where ruins are and access to trails. There is a lovely 2 mile trail from campground that you can also walk to center. Ruins are interesting. Lots of wildflowers.
Many campsites with views of Navajo Lake. Pit toilets in Juniper, real toilets w showers in main Navajo campground. Food at Marina is good and affordable
There are 3 loops in the campground with various sized spots and amount of shade. We were initially drawn to loop C but there was a group that had 8-10 cars in two camping spots so we opted for loop B instead. We found a great spot with trees to hang our hammocks while still being able to keep our solar panels in the sun.
There are trail heads that are a short walk from the campground including a 1.5 mile trail to the visitor center
The spots have picnic table and fire rings, there is potable water and vault toilets throughout the campground as well as a dump station at the entrance/exit. You pay at an automated machine at the entrance, in April there were plenty of spots to chose from and the campground was probably about 50% full. Cost is $12/night.