Valles Caldera

Valles Caldera is an 89,000-acre diverse landscape thriving with an abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna, towering mountain meadows, and winding streams. Valles Caldera formed 1.25 million years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption that created a 13-mile circular impression known as a caldera. Since then, thousands of visitors—around 76,758 in 2021—stream into the Natural Preserve to immerse themselves in rich history, beautiful landscapes, and a thriving high-alpine ecosystem. When you visit Valles Caldera, whether for the love of hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife appreciation, astronomy, or simply to engage with nature, you can be sure you’ll find a tantalizing experience like no other. New Mexico’s Valles Caldera offers a vast selection of adventures and memorable experiences that you’ll never forget.

Explore The Valles Caldera Backcountry

When you’re in search of the perfect immersive adventure, look no further than Valles Caldera. Find yourself in the heart of the mountains when you trek the backcountry by foot, on horseback, mountain bike, or personal vehicle. Enjoy Valles Caldera’s beautiful scenery and wildlife as you explore steep climbs, flat valles, and other breathtaking trails. You can never go wrong while enjoying all that nature has to offer.

Visit The Historic Cabin District

Located around 4 miles from the main entrance of the Preserve is the Historic Cabin District, a set of rustic cabins preserved in time. Commemorate your visit with stamps and other souvenirs at the Valle Grande Contact Station, or take a photo of one of many cabins that sit on the property. The Greer Cabin, Otero Cabin, the Commissary, Bond Cabin, and the Ranch Foreman’s Cabin are reminders of the rich history that resides within the park. And for any fans of the Netflix series Longmire, you’ll be pleased to know that the Ranch Foreman’s Cabin was featured in the hit series, and was where Sherriff Walt Longmire lived!

Enjoy Meandering Creeks and Rivers

There are plenty of winding creeks and rivers located within Valles Caldera’s 89,000 acres, including the San Antonio Creek, Jaramillo Creek, and the East Fork of the Jemez River. The East Fork of the Jemez River attracts thousands of hikers, fishing enthusiasts, and sightseers to the 6.5 miles of river that runs throughout the Valles Caldera. The San Antonio Creek is home to wildlife such as brown trout, elk, bear, coyotes, and mountain bluebirds that populate the area, while the Jaramillo Creek is a sought-after fly fishing spot for anglers, as there are large fish and brown trout that inhabit the waters.

View Wildlife and Beautiful Night Skies

With a vast variety of ecological features and landscapes, Valles Caldera is home to animals big and small, with the preserve hosting 51 different species of mammals, 117 types of birds, 6 reptile species, 6 fish, and 3 amphibians. While not all animals are visible at all hours of the day or season, there is a good chance wildlife-lovers will have a chance to see a variety of the preserve’s animals with enough luck! Valles Caldera is also a wonderful place to experience a clear, dark night sky that is perfect for beginner and expert astronomers alike!

Plan Your Trip to Valles Caldera

Valles Caldera boasts beautiful rolling mountains, meandering rivers and creeks, abundant wildlife, and other beautiful scenery that will impress any adventurer. There is rich history starting with the ancestral Native people who occupied the land before, as well as an intriguing ranching history. Valles Caldera is waiting to be explored—so plan your trip and visit the spectacular history, scenery, and land that is the Valles Caldera!