JEMEZ SPRINGS ― When the Valles Caldera National Preserve opens the summer season May 15, visitors will be greeted with expanded public access plus a more streamlined and cost-effective fee system.
The new format, approved by the Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees last December, features an entrance fee of $20 per vehicle and $10 per person when entering on foot or bicycle. The entrance fee will be valid for seven days and cover all self-guided recreational activities including, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Trust-sponsored special events, guided hikes, van tours, and the use of the headquarters shuttle will also be free with entry.
For the first time, the Trust also will begin honoring all annual federal lands access passes, including senior and military passes. Free entrance days this season are July 24-26, Aug. 25, Sept. 26, and Nov. 11. Mark your calendars now to take advantage of the free access days.
In addition, visitors will be able to explore the Valles Caldera in their personal vehicles by securing a free backcountry vehicle permit. Beginning May 15, a total of 24 permits will be issued each day with up to 12 permits available by reservation. The remainder will be available to visitors on a first come, first served basis. Anglers wishing to fish the Río San Antonio must acquire a backcountry vehicle permit.
The Preserve is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week starting Friday, May 15, and the Trust will again offer a variety of special guided tours and events this summer and fall including:
- Family Fun & Games Campfire Program & Summer Twilight Hours: May 16; June 6, 20; July 4, 18 and Aug. 1, 15. Join us for an evening of stories, games and activities, and explore the Valles Caldera a little longer with extended hours until 10 p.m.
- Earth Skills Gathering: June 6. Discover primitive skills as regional experts demonstrate fire making, knapping, atl-atl throwing, and more.
- Geology Tours: June 13, July 5 and Aug. 30. Learn about the early formation of New Mexico’s supervolcano and when it might explode again!
- Kites in the Valle: June 20. Bring your kite and help us color the sky.
- Fly Fishing Clinics – Youth: June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15 – Adult: June 21, July 19 and Aug. 16. Learn the basics of fly fishing in the headwaters of the Jemez River.
- Preserve Days Celebration: July 24-26. Come celebrate the Preserve’s 15th anniversary and listen to tall tales at the Storytelling Jamboree.
- Jemez Mountains Elk Festival: Sept. 26. Explore all things elk during this event celebrating New Mexico’s second largest elk herd.
- Ranger-led Programs: Offered throughout the summer. Check our website for your favorite van tour or guided hike.
Educational School Programs
We are taking reservations for school groups to visit and explore the Preserve this fall and next spring. Educational programs for grades K-12 are now free to all schools. To reserve your date or to get more information, call 505.661.3333.
Our programs are successful because of the quality and number of people who help out. We are always looking for help with the events described above as well as with answering visitor questions in our stores and pullouts. There are even opportunities to lead events. If you are a dependable person and want to spend some of your valuable time helping the Preserve, call 505.661.3333.