Jemez Springs – Snowshoeing, cross country skiing and sleigh rides highlight a full calendar of winter activities announced by the Valles Caldera National Preserve today. The schedule also includes two free snowshoeing and skiing access days.
Winter hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Valle Grande Staging Area. An expanded holiday schedule will run 9 a.m.–5 p.m., every day from Dec. 26 through Jan. 6.
New this season, the preserve will remain open for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Jan. 21 and President’s Day, Feb. 18.
Skiing and snowshoeing open the season Dec. 7, weather permitting. Fees are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 years and older), $8 for youth (5-15 years) while kids four and younger are free.
Five-day passes are available for $40 per adult and $32 for seniors and youth. Reservations are not required but all must check in and depart from the Valle Grande staging area.
Also, the Valle Grande Trail, Coyote Call Trail and the surrounding area on the south side of N.M. 4 will remain open everyday for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing free of charge.
Christmas Tree sales begin the day after Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 23, and continue through Dec. 23 at the Staging Area. Trees will be sold during regular business hours on a first come first served basis for the cost of a $20 permit fee, which will go to support the Preserve.Cross Country Skiing. Courtesy photo
Visitors can enjoy free skiing and snowshoeing during Public Appreciation Day, Dec. 15 and Winter Trails Day Jan. 12. Carpooling is recommended for these free events because parking is limited. Checking in and check out at the Valle Grande staging area required..Sleigh Ride. Courtesy photo
Three Special Moonlight Events dot the schedule Friday, Dec. 28, Saturday Jan. 26 and Sunday Feb. 24. The Moonlight Events run 5 p.m.–9 p.m. The self guided, skiing or snowshoeing activity offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience the Valle Grande during full moon conditions. Moonlight skiing and snowshoeing permits will be sold at the Valle Grande Staging Area beginning at 5 p.m. at $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for youth and free for kids four and younger. Visitors should be prepared for high elevation, winter mountain weather and night conditions.
Horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides offer visitors an hour long ride through the winter landscape. Rides are $30 for adults, $24 for seniors and youth, and free for kids four and younger. Reservations are recommended to guarantee a seat but drop-ins will be accommodated if seats are available.
Visitors can get an early start on 2013 by enjoying the Fourth Annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration in the Valle Grande. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. and include skiing, snowshoeing, bonfires and end at 8 p.m. with a fireworks display. Ticket reservations are required to enjoy all the events and include reserved parking, a skiing/snowshoeing permit, food and a raffle ticket for a door prize. Reservations are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and youth, children four and younger are free. Visitors who want to see only the fireworks can take the family for a $20 per vehicle cover charge at the main gate the night of the event while parking is available.
Details on events reservations can be found on at www.vallescaldera.gov or by calling1-866-382-5537.The Valles Caldera Trust oversees the Valles Caldera National Preserve, formerly the privately owned “Baca Ranch.” The 89,000 acre property is located in the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico. It was purchased by the federal government in 2000 under the Valles Caldera National Preservation Act. The property is known for its huge meadows, abundant wildlife, meandering streams and remarkable scenery. More information about the Preserve can be found at www.vallescaldera.gov