Juniper Campground at Bandelier National Monument

No short text The campground for Bandelier National Monument is large enough that the ranger we talked to said she had never seen it full in several years of working here. The openness of the campground means that in the winter, you can take advantage of morning sun to warm yourself. The campground is well-maintained, and is near the trailheads for the Tyuonyi and Frey hikes.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: National Park Service; Bandelier National Monument
Official URL:Park web page for the campground
Region: North-central; Jemez Mountains.
CG elevation: 6660ft; 2030m
Campsite count: 66. 19 in Coyote loop, 20 in Packrat loop, 27 in Abert Squirrel loop.

Sometimes (e.g., in winter) they close one or more of the three loops.

Visual density: 13.00.
Fee: $12.00. You must also pay the park entrance fee, which was $12.00 for seven days when we were there. They accept Visa/Mastercard for camping payment.

Some of the sites have parking space for multiple vehicles. These cost $35/night.

Season: March 01 to October 31. The official word is, "The campground will close in late fall and reopen in late spring." These dates are not well defined.
Dogs: Yes. Dogs must be on leash at all times. Note that they are not allowed on any park trails, so you are very limited in what they can do with you.
Horses: No.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. Some sites are reserved for handicapped use.
RV max length: 39ft; 12m
RV parking surface: gravel
RV pull-through spaces? No.
RV parking notes: Not all sites can handle the max RV size.
General RV notes: There is a dump station near the campground entrance.
General notes: According to the park, there is a limit of 2 tents, 2 vehicles, and 6 people per site.

The campground host sold firewood when we were there. Or, you can bring your own. Fuelwood gathering in the park is not allowed.

Campground facilities: water, trash can(s), flush toilet(s), cooking grill (all campsites have either a grill or a fire pit with a cook grate), fire pit, tent-only (no RV) camping area, RV dump station, reservation sites (very few sites are reservable).
Campground attractions: hiking, wilderness access, wildlife, cross-country skiing and/or snowshoeing, history, geology.

When we visited it:

Date: 2003-10-27 2005-06-11 2006-04-28
Cleanliness: 9. 9. 9.

Waypoints:

Waypoint Type Description
Juniper CGCampgroundJuniper campground in Bandelier National Monument

Maps:

Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Albuquerque New Mexico USGS 1983 1:100000 Y from sar.lanl.gov (free)
Bandelier National Monument National Geographic Trails Illustrated 2000 1:28600 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Los Alamos BLM 2003 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Santa Fe National Forest US Forest Service 2004 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase) West half
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the campground:

From the park main entrance, the campground is the first right after you pass the pay station.
No image

About the campground:

Campsite 54
The park is in a Piñon-Juniper-Ponderosa forest. One of the recent forest fires burned through here, and the drought (2003) is not helping. As a result, there are dead trees. Note that plenty of live trees still remain.
Every campsite has a picnic table and a place for cooking over a fire. The campground is clean, and well-maintained.
Campsite 60
A Piñon jay

The wildlife we saw in the campground included this Piñon Jay, which stole part of Diana's muffin when she got up to get some orange juice. A chipmunk noticed where the jay buried part of the muffin, and went over and retrieved it and ate it.

We also saw a cottontail rabbit, and several other species of birds we did not identify.

We heard coyotes nearby one night, and the park has posted signs warning about bears. Therefore, you should be careful with your food, and not leave any out.

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Mon Jun 7 22:10:23 2004 Marc Owen from Norman OK said:
June 14 2004 Great campground. Simple and clean. Nice camp hosts. You can walk out of your campsite and hike trails closeby or drive to nearby visitor center.

Areas to actually place tents are not large. A little difficulty in finding completely shaded areas. Not really necessary since climate is mild.

Paying for campsite is on cash only system. There are no electronic pay systems so be sure to have exact cash 10 dollars per day. No checks allowed.

No showers.

You're not supposed to dump any dishwater according to rules. They say it kills the plants. Hmmm. I can understand not dumping food particles etc. Never heard of dishwater being harmful. Anyway that's the rule.

Bathrooms have flush toilets. Bathrooms are very clean. Plenty of water hydrants are available with clear cool water.

Overall great experience.

On Sat Jun 26 17:41:01 2004 Anonymous from Albuquerque said:
Visited on June 18 19 2004. Loop A was closed, so we chose loop B being that C was mostly full. Many of the sites seemed quite close to each other. Very nice hosts. We enjoyed a session at the amphitheater learning about Mountain Lions. The night sky was wide and clear; bring your telescope. We could not have a fire due to the extreme conditions. We had a great time.

On Tue Jul 5 14:49:03 2005 David from Minnesota, USA said:
We stayed in the Juniper Campground for two nights in June '05. It is very basic but very clean and well cared for. Only about 1 in 5 sites were occupied and we found a site with some decent shade at the north end of "B" loop. Many sites have very little shade, so arrive early to get the best selection!

It was relatively quiet both nights except for coyotes that howled a few times. There are no showers but the bathroom had flush toilets and fresh running water.

Payment was by MasterCard, VISA, or cash (exact change) and cost just $12 each night. Firewood was $5/bundle.

I highly reccommend hiking the Frey and Overlook trails that start in the campground, near the amphitheatre parking lot. Enjoy!

On Sun Aug 7 19:04:53 2005 Todd and Kristy from Albuquerque, NM said:
We camped here 08-05-2005--08-07-2005 in Loop C which has a brand-new bathroom that is incredibly clean. The bathroom also has a pot-cleaning station with a double-sink. The sites are a bit close together. There were several water spitgots in the loop along with one set of trash bins. We got 6 big pieces of wood for $5, which would probably last two nights. Note also that you have to pay $10 to enter the park in addition to $12 per night for the campground, which is totally worth it because of how much there is to see. There are evening shows at the ampitheater which is centrally located between the three loops (we didn't make it to any of the shows though). The visitor's center has a museum and a gift-shop along with a snack bar. The caves hike is well worth seeing and is very kid friendly. The Tyuonyi hike is very flat and ends in a view of the beginning of the cave hike which starts from the visitor's center.

On Tue Oct 25 20:42:57 2005 Anonymous from somewhere said:
Loop C in the campground is very nice and accomodated our 33 foot fifth wheel trailer easily. The restrooms were exceptionally clean. The campground host was friendly and made sure we did not run our little 2000 watt Honda before or after hours. We made toast and popcorn and that was it

One night, about 10 PM, we had a visitor a Great Horned owl that hooted around for about 45 minutes or so. Fun!

Overall, Rangers and people were very nice as was the campground. Yes, we'll be back!

On Tue Mar 14 16:00:19 2006 joel from Rio Rancho, NM said:
Stayed their over labor day weekend for four days. We expected loud parties and crossing our fingers that wouldnt be the case. The place had plenty of room for us when we came in on Thursday, and loved the stay. Camp hosts made sure everyone was in order at night, bathrooms were well kept, and everyone was friendly. Excellent experiance over a holiday weekend! We stayed in loop C where the shade is excellent and the surroundings were all tall pines. Loop A and B are mostly Junipers under 15ft tall.

We'll be back to this place for sure!

On Tue Aug 1 21:02:01 2006 Doug Bonney from Kansas City, MO said:
We just returned from Bandelier National Monument, where we camped on July 25 and 26. Loop A was closed, but there were plenty of sites available in Juniper Campground. The camphosts are very nice the camp is clean and the sites have new firepits and plasticcoated steel picnic tables. The bathroom in Loop C was recently remodled and is very nice. This is a great place to camp and explore.

On Tue Oct 3 13:35:27 2006 wanda from wichita ks said:
We stayed 2 nights over the labor day weekend 2006, in loop c and only three spots were open. This was a beautiful campsite and the first evening we saw Elk and Dear as we walked to the restroom. The restroom were clean and nice, except No showers. Everyone was very quiet and we enjoyed the Bat Talk at the amphitheater, The next day we went to Bandoleer and saw a Bull Snake , a beautiful Western Diamond Back Rattle Snake and more dear. We would love to come back

On Mon Oct 23 20:06:55 2006 Steve K. from Arlington Texas said:
Stayed here at Juniper 3 nights, Oct. 15-17. Tent camped. Chilly nights/perfect days in a really well maintained park. The ruins are well worth spending some time with and the hikes within the park are nicely marked and designed. The lady Rangers here are very warm and helpful. Can't wait to return. Thanks for this terrific site.

On Fri Mar 23 22:16:47 2007 Trish from Albuquerque, NM said:
We stayed for the July 4th weekend, 2006, and it was FANTASTIC! Clean sites and the cleanest bathrooms Ive ever seen. Great pot cleaning station too. Nice rangers. Our 2year olds were able to make the hike to the cave sites with no problems. Take time to plan a picnic in the canyon where it is cool and shady and there is a beautiful, shallow creek that runs through. Excellent for kids to play in. Our site was big and shady and had room for 3 tents and one play tent. We arrived late Friday and had no problem getting the site we wanted. Did I mention the clean bathrooms? No kidding. Beautifully maintained trails lead to the amphitheatre where our toddlers sang and danced on the stage until dark which is when the regularly scheduled programs take place. Watched an unbelievably active lighting display all Saturday night with rain pouring down upon us. Wished I had been on the canyon rim with my camera. Next time. Thanks for the very helpful website!!

On Sat Mar 24 12:14:00 2007 The Webmaster from Albuquerque, NM said:
An addendum to the previous poster's message. The pot washing is not a place set aside for washing plants of the Cannabis species :-), but for dish washing. Since the park does not allow you to dump your wash water, it is good they have provided an alternative.

Regarding the lightning, I agree that it can be spectacular. You can easily reach the canyon rim on the Tyuonyi overlook trail. However, be careful, because New Mexico has the highest per capita death rate from lightning strikes, probably related to the fact that we are second in the nation for lightning strikes. I would not want to be on the canyon rim during a storm (one lightning strike (more of a glancing blow, actually) in a lifetime is enough!). For more information about lightning safety, see this page from the National Lightning Safety Institute and this page from the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On Mon Jan 26 06:44:16 2009 Phillip Wadsworth from Eatontown New Jersey said:
The time I spent at Juniper was very pleseant. I loved the smell of the pines and the pinon campfire we had. Hiking out of the campground into the canyon enjoyable. We were able to observe two scientists surveying a community of bats as they exited a cave in the vulcanic tuff canyon wall on the way down to the Rio Grande to feed on insects.

That evening as the stars were out a neighboring camper was softly pounding his ponderosa drum. As we listened and stared into the campfire, you could almost feel the history around you. Almost like the Anasazi were still there somehow. Weird! Anyway if I get another chance to get out of the NYC burbs and head west I am definitely going back.

On Mon Aug 17 16:15:42 2009 Anonymous from Somewhere said:
The Juniper campground does have REALLY clean bathrooms. The dish washing sink was nice too! However, most of the sites are extremely close together, and I was surprised by how small some of the sites were. Some of the small sites forced you to setup your tent right next to your car, which was right next to the first pit. Many tents had to be setup very close to the road. Luckily, we got a large double site that allowed us to put the tents further away from the road. I would recommend Juniper if you can get there early (ie, before 3 pm Friday on a summer weekend). The campground filled up quickly by 5-6 pm on Friday. The Falls trail is a very nice, but steep, hike from the visitor center.

On Sun Jul 18 11:39:27 2010 Kathy from Las Cruces, NM said:
According to the official website, this campsite is closed for the 2010 summer and fall for rehab. The visitor center is also closed until mid-August, 2010.

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