We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Valles Caldera National Preserve

39201 Highway 4, Jemez Springs, NM
866-382-5537
Website
Improve this listing
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
Write a Review

126 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    98
    24
    3
    1
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Poulsbo, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2014 NEW

We first saw this magical place in the late afternoon. It glowed in the "golden hour" light. The next day we took a van tour of the preserve, a bargain at $5 each.

Was this review helpful? Yes
NC
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2014

Liked the short hike through prairie dog town. Amazing meadow views. If staying nearby, go to the viewing areas at dusk to look for elk.

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

I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. There is an extensive scientific study being conducted on the prairie dogs. A recent story on the prairie dogs appeared on the Albuquerque's KOB-TV if you are interested in more information. Please come back and see us again and thanks for writing your review. -Terry More

Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2014

Touring in the caldera takes planning but limited small bus drives can be available. It's a interesting place and easy to visit superficially just to have a look.

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

We begin our winter schedule next week which includes Magma to Magpie van tours and hikes Fri-Sun from 9am - 5pm.When the snow falls we'll host snowshoeing,X-country skiing and horse drawn sleigh/wagon rides. Come up and take a look at the winter beauty of the Preserve, Thanks for taking the time to visit and write your review. Terry More

Randolph, New Jersey
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2014

This was our first trip to New Mexico at the beginning of Oct. 2014. We missed the tour van at the caldera the first day we arrived and returned the following day. What a great decision we made despite the rather chilly temp (42 degrees) and rain (more about the weather later). Our guide/driver Jim Trout is a native New... More

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

Jim Trout is one of our unexpected treasures on the Preserve. Every time I visit with him he has another story about the area that I have not heard. He is a wealth of knowledge and fun to be with. I understand he now includes a peice of recent history when he stops to visit the cabin that serves as... More

Orford, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2014

Treat yourself and stop by this wonderful, wild place. Look around and drink in your surroundings. Beautiful trails available, and a less than two mile easy, flat loop starts and ends at the visitor center. Take a picnic (there is a table on the loop, but remember to bring water) for a relaxed chance to enjoy your surroundings. This is... More

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

Thanks for taking the time to visit and write your review. we have van tours and recreation activities that require a small fee but you had an enjoyable experience for free. We also have free hikes that begin from that visitor center where you enjoyed a picnic lunch.Please come back and take a closer look at the Preserve or bring... More

Las Cruces, New Mexico
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014

excellent gift shop, super friendly and courteous staff. I love the trails and hiking areas. the elk viewing areas are great

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

Thanks for visiting and writing the review. Next time you visit try taking one of our many van tours for a deeper look into the caldera and the wildlife on the Preserve. You won't regret it. -Terry More

Tennessee
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
4 attraction reviews
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 via mobile

Did some hiking here during the elk rut. took a shuttle to the trail head (preserve entry and shuttle were $10). The shuttle runs regularly and they picked me back up when I was finished. The preserve is absolutely gorgeous. I felt like I had the place to myself. The elk were beautiful and I have never heard so many... More

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

It sounds like you had a great hike and enjoyed a symphony of bugles during the rut. I don't know if you ski or snowshoe but we offer those activities once the snow flies. Meanwhile come back and enjoy free hikes on the weekends. You can also enjoy a van tour or why not take a horse drawn sleigh/wagon ride... More

Washington, USA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2014

We were headed from Santa Fe to Albuquerque via Los Alamos and Bandelier So hard to believe that the grasslands we saw were the inside of a former volcano. Drove down to the preserve and took the inexpensive ($3) one hour van tour with Jim Trout. Just recently it came under the ownership of the US government Great to see... More

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

It looks like you paid us a visit during the Jemez Mountains Elk Festival which we host every year.The Magma to Magpie van tour you took with Jim Trout provides a brief overview of the history and nature of the caldera. We have geology, wildlife and many other tours and hikes which are more in depth and just as entertaining.... More

Marana, Arizona
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2014

We were staying in Santa Fe. We decided to take a day and drive around and went to Bandelier National Monument. We weren't sure where to go next so we just drove around and wound up at Caldera National Preserve. We drove in because it looked so beautiful from the road. We signed up for a tour ($5 PP). Our... More

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

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to write your review. Next time try to make the Preserve the perfect beginning to a day in the Jemez. We host a number of van tours that take you deeper into the back country and the history of the Preserve. Did you know Hollywood has made a few stops at the... More

Weare, NH
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014

This ancient super volcano is a unique and beautiful place. We had a special guided tour by the staff biologist which was about as good a tour as we have ever had. Don't arrive during the elk hunting season as many of the trails are closed.

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

Thanks for coming to visit. Some of the trails are off limits during the fall hunting season but, as you poiinted out, you still had a fascinating tour. I guarantee an equally fascinating time when you next visit. Try the geology tour or the one of the many other summer attractions we host. Meanwhile, if you are in the neighborhood... More

Travelers who viewed Valles Caldera National Preserve also viewed

 

Been to Valles Caldera National Preserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing