High water at Bandelier washes out temporary bridges

-A A +A

Park visitors should remain vigilant.

By Arin McKenna

An evening rain in upper Frijoles Canyon Wednesday sent high water down Frijoles Creek, washing away three temporary bridges in Bandelier National Monument. Bridges along the trail to Alcove House and the second bridge on the Falls Trail were washed away.

The high water also closed Hwy 501 and sections of Hwy 4 temporarily.

Chief Ranger Tom Betts said the temporary bridges were designed for such events.

“Our talented trail crew designed split log and rail bridges which are very simple and very cost effective,” Betts said. “We built them knowing they would wash away at some point.”

Betts hopes to have the bridges replaced sometime next week. In the meantime, hikers using those trails will have to either wade of jump the creek.

The Las Conchas fire, which burned two-thirds of the park, left canyon slopes susceptible to heavy runoff and shifting debris, which can send high water racing through canyons in a matter of minutes.

Betts stressed the difference between a high water event and a flood. “In most places, the water stayed within the creek boundaries, only overflowing in a couple of spots. Near the visitor center it didn’t even touch the foot bridge,” Betts said.

If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Renew Current or Past Subscription / Register for Online Subscription

If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.

Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.

Newspaper Acct. ID:
Street Address:
(exactly as it appears on the label)

If you are a subscriber and you do not know your account ID or don't have a copy of your newspaper available that shows the information on the address label you can click continue below to search for your account.

Special Offer

You have used all your free page views for the month however if you wish to create a FREE limited access account you will be able to view a additional 3 pages per month.

You can also purchase a subscription and have full access to the site. To purchase a subscription simply enter your zipcode below

ZIP Code:

Los Alamos Monitor | lacirculation@lamonitor.com | 505-662-4185
256 DP Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday