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Valles Caldera National Preserve

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Address: 39201 Highway 4, Jemez Springs, NM 87025
Phone Number:
+1 575-829-4100
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

This 89,000 acre National Preserve is in the heart of one of three super...

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. Bring your camera and enjoy the expansive views. Pet Friendly: Dogs on leashes are welcome at the contact stations, but are prohibited elsewhere on the Preserve. Registered assistance animals are allowed.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 251 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 185
  • 55
    Very good
  • 5
  • 2
  • 1
Beautiful in the snow

We drove through here on a day trip and were happy we did. I'd seen it from the sky in the spring, but it's just as beautiful with snow in the winter. With lots of fresh snow... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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251 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 248: English reviews
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
111 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We drove through here on a day trip and were happy we did. I'd seen it from the sky in the spring, but it's just as beautiful with snow in the winter. With lots of fresh snow, we were afraid to drive into the preserve, but it's majestic even from the road.

Thank ertofu
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Level Contributor
461 reviews
142 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2016

The drive is beautiful and particularly with snow on the ground, but none on the highway. It is full of natural beauty and geographic interest.

Thank 46749
laconia, nh
Level Contributor
371 reviews
144 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2016

I had read a lot about the Caldera but had no idea what we were in store for. I did not know it was now a NP and on our first day in the area we merely stopped along the road above it and took pictures of it, as it is truly a unique geographic area. A few days later... More 

1 Thank jwredlabel
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2016

Valles Caldera was new to us and a very pleasant surprise. Lets get the negatives out of the way - the roads through the caldera were terrible. We have a small car and we made it fine, but it was not fun. Very rocky. Now the positive: beautiful grasslands surrounded by mountains, nice hiking, not crowded. Recently taken over by... More 

1 Thank perryrr64
Boerne, Texas
Level Contributor
250 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2016

Great spot for a drive. Pack your binoculars and watch for wildlife. The history of the are is very inteersting and its amazing to think you are driving around in a supervolcano. Great photo ops.

Thank pamelaL74
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
183 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2016 via mobile

Go early so that you can get a pass for the backcountry, otherwise stay for the small Museum and displays at the half. When the elk are out they have a telescope so that you can watch them.

1 Thank gregnx
Level Contributor
295 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2016

This is one of the newest "parks" ~ actually a "preserve" ~ in the national system, & they're just getting organized with lots of plans for the future. It's remote ~ along the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway ~ & well worth the stop as long as you don't want or need lots of amenities & hand-holding. The first thing... More 

1 Thank JamaisVu
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2016

The Valles Caldera is a must see. This ancient volcano is a gem - filled with elk, blue sky, golden grasses, brown trout, obsidian, and vistas for miles. Go early to get a back country permit and enjoy having a national preserve almost to yourself!

1 Thank Juli F
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2016

Exceptionally beautiful area. Arrive early since they only grant 35 cars permission to drive the "backcountry." All roads are gravel and passable by ordinary cars. Great interest to geologists since it is an enormous volcanic caldera having erupted 1.2 ma. Visitor center opens 15 May to 30 Sep. Formally known as the Valles Caldera National Preserve which allows it also... More 

Thank David S
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
172 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2016

While we knew in advance the road was not paved, "ridiculous" would be a better way to describe it. If you are the driver, don't expect to see anything, because if your eyes stray from the road, even momentarily, you will hit a pothole, drainage ditch, large rock or sundry other surprise. Ten MPH is about the maximum speed you... More 

1 Thank jads8627

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Typical questions asked:
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?