JEMEZ SPRINGS – Valles Caldera National Preserve will close its main gate and Valle Grande entrance station Dec. 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday; the Coyote Call and Valle Grande trails will remain open from sunrise to sunset. The entrance station and main gate will reopen at 9 a.m. Dec. 26.
The snow hasn’t graced the preserve just yet, so visitors still have the opportunity to hike, bike, or ride horses. Visitors who like to watch wildlife might catch sightings of coyotes, elk, and bald eagles.
When the snows finally come and conditions allow, visitors can cross-country ski or snowshoe. The preserve has 20 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails; although travel off trail is permitted for those wanting more of a challenge. Of the 20 miles of trails, about 11 miles are groomed on a weekly basis. The Valle Grande Bookstore located in the entrance station has snowshoes available for rent.
About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history. Visit us at www.nps.gov/vall and on Facebook www.facebook.com/VallesCaldera/.