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Valles Caldera National Preserve

Fish and Wildlife Reserve or Sanctuary
Looking into the Preserve from a free hiking trail. – Rourke McDermott

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.

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Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs on leashes are welcome at the staging areas, but are prohibited elsewhere on the Preserve.

Registered assistance animals are allowed on the Preserve.

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 tours

Fall: Hiking, van tours, fishing, and elk hunting

Winter: skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, moonlight skiing and snowshoeing, and a very unique New Year's Eve celebration

Spring: Hiking, van tours, and turkey hunting


Seasons Accessible

Observation 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 March


Fees vary based on activity. Reservations are available, but are not required.