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Valles Caldera National Preserve

39201 Highway 4, Jemez Springs, NM
866-382-5537
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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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113 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2014 NEW

We go to Valles Caldera preserve every year for a sleigh ride. It is a special, magical place, with unsurpassed natural beauty. It is wonderful that this outdoor gem is open to visit and explore!

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Washington, D.C.
Top Contributor
190 reviews 190 reviews
51 attraction reviews
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

Valles Caldera National Preserve is such a spectacular place. I have seen some prior reviews complaining about not being able to drive their cars on the preserve roads. These complaints totally miss what is so fantastic about Valles Caldera: that this vast area is left for exploration under your own steam: foot or bike. The preserve provides reasonably priced van... More

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Muskegon, Michigan, United States
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

It's difficult to actually get onto the Caldera. Sometimes it's closed. There is only one road into the Caldera. We drove by it several times, but never got into the Caldera.

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

Perhaps you tried to enter the Preserve before or after regular business hours. During the summer season we are open seven days a week from 8 am – 6 pm. The main entrance is at mile marker 39.2 on New Mexico Highway 4. From there visitors can drive down to the Valle Grande Staging Area where they can take a... More

1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

This was the most informative and professionally directed tour that my wife and I have ever taken. The husband and wife tour guides are both geologist with years of investigative field study on this specific volcano and associated geological formations. Their presentation was in lay language that was a perfect balance of theory blended with in the field observations. The... More

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

Thank, you for this glowing report about your experience on the Geology Tour. Fraser and Cathy Goff make the ancient caldera come alive with their presentation and deep knowledge of the area. Next time you visit bring a few friends for a repeat performance or take one of our other tours. Wildlife, elk, and Lights! Camera! Caldera (a/k/a/ The Movie... More

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
6 attraction reviews
237 helpful votes 237 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Schedule a tour to see most of the caldera; you cannot go past the visitor center otherwise. If you just want a short hike (90 min) around the "cerro" next to the visitor center, go late to see more wildlife. But they close at six. The staff are really knowledgeable and helpful.

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

This is great scouting report for people who don't have an entire day to hike on the Preserve. Those who do can avail themselves of a variety of hikes including some which begin at trailheads in the back country. We provide a back country shuttle to bring hikers to the trailhead and we pick them up when they complete the... More

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

Any trip to the Valles Caldera is worth your time. Although beautiful from the road, the numerous tours throughout the caldera allow you to see throughout the area, giving you a more expansive and additional breathtaking experience. I took the geology tour. It was extremely well done, interesting and made for a fabulous day. Fraiser and Kathy Goff are naturals... More

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

Please do come back and take one of our other tours. The elk van tours were so popular this summer that we added more to accommodate the demand. Another fun tour is the “Lights, Camera, Caldera!” which visits movie sets and sights where Hollywood stopped by to shoot movies like "The Missing" and "The Lone Ranger". Thanks for visiting us... More

Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
13 attraction reviews
204 helpful votes 204 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

What a sight as you crossover the mountains! I had read about this spot, but to actually see it is incredible. As far as your eye can see is meadow, and if you are lucky, you'll see grazing elk. A unique natural wonder that you won't soon forget.

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

It is breathtaking when you first see it coming around the bend on NM Hwy 4. You didn’t mention if you had the time to drive down into the Preserve for a closer look. If you didn’t please do so the next time you drive by so you can experience the beauty and calm of the Preserve. You can also... More

New Jersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014

This was our first experience of the National Preserve. We entered the grounds not knowing what to expect. We were greeted warmly at the Welcome Center (where you can purchase coffee & Hot chocolate for $1.00 - no price gouging here). For $5.00/person we were given a 1-hour tour by a seasoned guide, whose knowledge of the geology, history, wildlife,... More

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

Thanks very much for visiting us and taking the time to write your review. You had a beautiful day to take the van tour. It’s a great introduction to the natural history of the Preserve and leaves you wanting more. Next time check into one of our other tours that focus on wildlife, geology or the movies that were filmed... More

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

The Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of the most beautiful spots we've been in the U.S. -- and we've been to a lot of beautiful spots. About an hour's drive north of Santa Fe, this is an area of tremendous natural beauty created by ancient volcanic activity. The basin, a vast meadow surround by mountains with the Jemez River... More

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

Thanks for visiting and writing the great review! I see you took a great photo of our lookout atop his watchtower. Please plan to come back and take the one hour Magma to Magpie van tour or one of our many other tours. You can also tour the Preserve from the comfort of your own vehicle on selected days. Either... More

Crown Point, Indiana
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2014

We took the 2.5 hour van tour around the caldera with Bill Trout on 8/15/14. The caldera is a must-see for anyone interested in geology, history and scenic beauty. I would recommend this as a side trip from Santa Fe. Then go to Los Alamos to see more recent history about the Manhattan Project. Bring your camera!

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

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the tour. The Valles Caldera is one of three active calderas in the mainland United States and the hot magma is only three miles below your feet when standing in the Valle Grande. Next time you might want to try the geology tour hosted by Fraser Goff and his wife Cathy. Fraser... More

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