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Valles Caldera National Preserve

39201 Highway 4, Jemez Springs, NM
866-382-5537
Website
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Owner description: This 89,000 acre National Preserve is in the heart of one of three super volcanoes in the United States. Known for its expansive high mountain valles,... more » Owner description: This 89,000 acre National Preserve is in the heart of one of three super volcanoes in the United States. Known for its expansive high mountain valles, large elk herds, and diverse history, the Preserve is a favorite among the locals when friends and relatives are in town. If you are in New Mexico you do not want to miss this. Recreational Opportunities This experiment in public land management focuses on the quality of your experience instead of visitor volume. Bring your camera and enjoy the expansive views. If you only have a couple of hours, be sure to check out the one hour Magma to Magpie van tour.Activities by the Season:Summer Season; hiking (guided and self-guided), fishing, van tours (wildlife, geology, archeology, history, artist's) , mountain bike trail riding, equestrian trail riding, star gazing, a marathon, an archery event, elk festival, photography toursFall: Hiking, van tours, fishing, and elk huntingWinter: skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, moonlight skiing and snowshoeing, and a very unique New Year's Eve celebrationSpring: Hiking, van tours, and turkey huntingSeasons AccessibleObservation points and two free hiking trails are open year round. Other activities are available 7 days a week May to October and Friday through Sunday from November to MarchFees: Fees vary based on activity. Reservations are available, but are not required.Pet Friendly NotesDogs on leashes are welcome at the staging areas, but are prohibited elsewhere on the Preserve.Registered assistance animals are allowed on the Preserve. « less
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93 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2014

Highly recommend visiting this extraordinary natural attraction. We saw a herd of elk and very much enjoyed the tour with Jim Trout. He took the time to explain the geology and history of this wonderful spot (a formerly private ranch now operated by USDA).

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks for coming and taking the time to review your visit. The natural history attracts many visitors like yourself. We also have special geology tours and wildlife habitat tours for a deeper dive into the science and chance to enjoy even more spectacular views. Please come back for a longer visit. Terry More

Miami, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

My parents, my grown son & his girlfriend, and my husband and I took a tour with Jim Trout. He has a good knowledge of the region, the preserve's history, and volcanology. We thoroughly enjoyed it! (And only $5 a piece.) The Preserve is beautiful with gorgeous vistas. There are hiking trails. We saw mountain blue birds, barn swallows (who... More

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Sounds like you had a great tour and if I'm not mistaken it took just about an hour. Next time you visit you might want to take one of our wildlife habitat tours to get a closer look at the elk and outher critters who make the Preserve their home. Thank you for coming and writing such a great review.... More

Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
32 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2014

My friends and I saw this area as we drove by on our way to the Bodhi Manda Zen Center. We didn't get out of the car because our road trip was already taking much longer than we had anticipated. But the Valles Caldera was awesome to look at and the scenery really added to our trip. I hope to... More

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

I'm glad you had a chance to see the Valle Grande as you passed by. Next time you're in the neighborhood plan an hour or two to come visit us. We have a one hour Magma to Magpie van tour that will give you an up close and personal look at the natural beauty of the Preserve and some of... More

Albuquerque, New Mexico
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

On Memorial Day weekend of 2014, we took the Magma Tour with Jim Trout. He was delightful with his history and tales of the past and present. Thoroughly delightful! I would recommend this tour wholeheartedly!

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting us. Jim does provide a wonderful oral history while you enjoy the natural beauty of the Preserve. Please come back to learn and enjoy more by taking one of our other van tours like the Wildlife Habitat Tour or Geology Tour. Meanwhile, Thanks very much for taking the time to write a review of your first trip.... More

Albuquerque, New Mexico
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

We could not have had a more perfect day. Fraser and Cathy Goff were so informative and Jim Trout was not only an excellent driver, but was able to identify the flora and fauna of the area. We were overwhelmed by the majesty of the caldera and the Goff's insights of the whys and whens made it come alive. This... More

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks so much for taking the time to write your review. The Goffs are the leading experts on the geologic history of the Caldera and they weave a wonderful narrative around it. They host a limited number of these tours each year and they are in high demand. Next time you visit you might want to look at the Wildlife... More

1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014

Our tour was great fun. Our guide, Jim Trout, was interesting and knowledgeable. We recommend him. We learned a lot not only about Valles Caldera, but interesting tidbits about New Mexico.

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to write a review. Jim Trout is an excellent guide as are all our tour guides. They do a great job on our Wildlife Habitat Tour, Geology Tour, Lights!Camera! Action! movie tour and other excursions. I am glad you enjoyed the visit and I look forward to your next review of a new... More

Alto, New Mexico
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Its a beautiful place and will go there again! You can take van tours or have them drop you off at a hiking trail. They will pick you back up later. This keeps traffic down in the preserve.

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. You can book a tour in advance or take one on the spur of the moment by checking in at the Valle Grande Staging Area. You can even a take a tour to see where scenes of the "The Lone Ranger" with Johnny Depp were filmed. There are many tours, hikes and activities from which... More

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

Jim Trout narrated our short tour around the caldera where various movies (e.g., The Lone Ranger) had recently been made in different locations on the property there. We could see the return of the forested trees that had nearly been charred to ashes from a forest fire last year. It was interesting to learn that trees would not grow in... More

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting us an taking the time to write your review. The history of the Preserve includes wildlife, geology, cattle ranching and the movies. Jim Trout makes it all very interesting. You might want to take a look at the Wildlife Habitat or Geology Tours the next time you come to the Preserve. They provide a deeper look into... More

Detroit, Michigan
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

Jack Trout a long term resident leads the excellent "Movies" tour. I'm not a big western fan, but Jack takes you all over the preserve and shares the history of the caldera. He brings the park alive. We had several opportunities to get out of the van and walk around. What a fun day. I highly recommend you take this... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks very much for taking the time to write about your visit. It's interesting to see where Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett filmed scenes from the 2003 movie "The Missing". I'm sure you also saw the cabin that serves as Sheriff Longmire's home in the tv series "Longmire". And of course there are buildings used in the 1995 movie... More

Los Alamos, New Mexico
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Thanks to Emily Blumenthal, special events coordinator, for helping me arrange a Wednesday hike for 25 of the Lemon Lot Hikers. Once I finally made contact with her, she complied with all my requests, and she sent all the pertinent e-mail information in a timely manner. We were anxious to hike on our own schedule, in an area that is... More

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VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this review

Thanks very much for taking the time to write about the fun you had. Emily does a great job managing our special use permit program which allows groups like yours schedule a hike, mountain bike event or a horseback ride together. (We also do weddings:). We look forward to the return of the Lemon Lot Hikers to the Preserve. -... More

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