We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Valles Caldera”

Valles Caldera National Preserve
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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. Bring your camera and enjoy the expansive views. Pet Friendly: Dogs on leashes are welcome at the contact stations, but are prohibited elsewhere on the Preserve. Registered assistance animals are allowed.
Reviewed 9 August 2014

The park was stunning, but too many restrictions to make it really enjoyable. They only let you drive on it one day out of the month. You have to pay to hike on one of their longer trails. The shuttle service to the back country only runs basically on the weekends. I was quite frustrated with all of the can't dos. I did enjoy the one hour van tour, though. It was very informative about the area. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. Just make sure you read everything very carefully on their website before you go in order to plan. We were there during the week when there wasn't much going on. The staging areas are closed during the week as well.

1  Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2014

Thanks very much for coming and taking the time to write your review. The Valle Grande Staging Area is open seven days a week during the summer months and Friday-Sunday during the winter season. Our web calendar also provides a list of daily activities and opportunities. We are also looking to expand driving opportunities on the Preserve next summer. I am glad you enjoyed the tour. Please come back. - Terry

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (285)
There are newer reviews for Valles Caldera National Preserve
See the most recent reviews
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

185 - 189 of 285 reviews

Reviewed 9 August 2014

We took the 1 hour van tour. The guide was well informed and friendly. Very beautiful! We were disappointed that we could not drive on the roads ourselves.

Thank wattswan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2014

Thanks for stopping by and taking one of our many tours. Next time you can take another tour or sign up for a Ranch Road Ramble which allows you to drive your personal vehicle through the Preserve. All the details are on the website. Thanks again for visiting and taking the time to write your review. – Terry

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Growing up in Los Alamos the closest I had been to the caldera was the pull-offs on State Road 4. This year we were blessed to drive into it and take the $5 tour with Jim Trout. All of the staff were wonderful and Jim gave us one of the best tours ever! His knowledge of the area made it a very special day for my extended family visit! Thank all of you for the hospitality!

Dale now living in Texas

2  Thank Dale975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2014

Welcome back to New Mexico and thanks for taking the time to write your review. Next time please drive down to the Valle Grande Staging Area to take a closer look or participate in one of our activities. You can also get a better idea of what awaits you by browsing our website. Please come back soon. - Terry

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2014

We had a well informed guide who took us on a van tour of this 185,00 acre former cattle ranch. We saw coyote, elk and cute prarie dogs. The kids enjoyed getting out every little bit and running around.

Thank callie442014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

I'm glad you had a great tour. It may seem like 185K acres but it's actually about 90K. What's important is you had a good time and took the time to write about your experince. When you come back please sample one of our wildlife tours or our evening events. Thanks again for visiting and come back soon.
Terry

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2014

If you visit Valles Caldera, plan to stay in a lodge nearby or a campground. Bandelier National Monument has a great, quiet campground and is a wonderful destination itself. It has cliff ruins with ladders that the kids will love, hiking trails, plus a seasonal waterfall. We have always had great experiences there. Be aware that since the Los Conchas fire in 2011, some of the amenities are not open yet. Also, it is a great bear year in the area, with lots of black bear cubs around. Be careful of Mama! She has no sense of humor.

We stayed at Jemez Falls campground this time, which is to the south and west of the entrance to Valles Caldera. There is no water, electric, dump station, and apparently no rangers! We stayed Thursday - Sunday and the pit toilets ran out of paper. They also were not cleaned the whole time we were there. The worst part was the "locals" coming out to party. Quiet hours are 10 - 6, but they were completely ignored. As the evening progressed the talking and yelling got louder. Saturday night, there was a huge fight with people yelling across the campground at each other threatening violence. We couldn't call the ranger because we had no cell reception!

We might go back to this campground in our RV in the fall when there will be a lot less traffic. It is a gorgeous area in the fall and this campground is a quick on/off enroute to Valles Caldera, Hot Springs, and wonderful hiking and rock climbing opportunities all along Hwy 4.

Valles Caldera has not been open to the public for very long. Currently, there are all kinds of rules about driving to the back of the park. For instance, if you are a pre-registered fisherman or hunter you can drive back there but there are all kinds of restrictions. Don't visit until you've looked up their information! They're only open from April until the beginning of October and there are a lot of limitations. For the most part, you can visit the visitors center and hike a couple trails (the pond trail leads to a marsh, not a pond, which only the mosquitoes were happy about), go on a guided tour, or scan the area with a provided scope. I recommend the Magma to Magpies tour, which was only 5 bucks per person. It was a one hour tour and the driver was extremely knowledgeable and excited about the area. We drove in an air-conditioned 16-passenger van to the back of the preserve and got to see quite a few well-preserved old buildings and learned about everything there is to know about a caldera. All of the staff were fonts of knowledge and were extremely friendly and helpful. Later in the evening, we got to see 2 elk herds; one through the scope and the other along the road.

1  Thank Wanderer790
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VallesCaldera, Public Relations Manager at Valles Caldera National Preserve, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

Sorry to hear about your camping troubles but I am happy you had a great experience on the tour. Next time plan a little more time on the Preserve so you can take a guided hike or one of our Wildlife tours. We also have a Ranch Road Ramble where you can tour the Preserve at your own pace from the comfort of your own vehicle. Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience. Please come back soon.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Valles Caldera National Preserve also viewed

 

Been to Valles Caldera National Preserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing