The Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of the most beautiful spots we've been in the U.S. -- and we've been to a lot of beautiful spots. About an hour's drive north of Santa Fe, this is an area of tremendous natural beauty created by ancient volcanic activity. The basin, a vast meadow surround by mountains with the Jemez River running through it, is particularly stunning. There is a guided tour of an historic ranch that we didn't take because the timing didn't work out for us. The preserve is something of a well-kept secret, having come under government management fairly recently -- it was privately owned until 2002. If you are a fan of magnificent western vistas and taking photos of same, this is your place.
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