Hiking Trails in Valles Caldera National Preserve

Unlock the secrets to one of New Mexico’s
most remarkable landscapes

Photo by Peter Dickson

The first comprehensive trail guide to Valles Caldera National Preserve includes

  • Over two dozen trails with detailed descriptions
  • Maps, coordinates, and conditions
  • Recommendations for mountain bikers
  • Need-to-know Preserve regulations
  • Wilderness safety and ethics
  • History of Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve is nestled in the heart of the Jemez Mountains, 90 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the world’s finest examples of a collapsed volcano, it was formed over 1.25 million years ago and is home to over 2500 elk, as well as bears, mountain lions, pikas, coyotes, prairie dogs, and many other animals, birds, and reptiles. Its 90,000 acres contain hundreds of miles of trails through beautiful valleys and up many of its lava domes as well as its rim. VCNP remains one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets, and has much to offer the adventurous hiker, biker, birder, or fisherman.

A hiker's feet propped over a wide field with distant trees

About the Author

Coco Rae used to be a volunteer at VCNP. She has spent the last 20 years wandering the trails of northern New Mexico. She has gone trekking on five continents but still best loves New Mexico’s backcountry.

Learn more

Valles Caldera National Preserve official site

Start here to plan your visit to VCNP.

Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs)

This is one of the best ways to contribute to the Preserve, and there are opportunities for every interest.

Los Amigos de Valles Caldera

The Preserve’s official Friends group. In addition to running the Preserve’s bookstore, they organize a variety of tours, sponsor events, and support projects such as wetland restoration.

Caldera Action

A citizens’ group focused on the protection and preservation of VCNP. They were instrumental in gaining support for the National Park Service’s management plan, and continue to work with community members.


Contact the author


If you hike or bike one of the trails in the guide and discover conditions have changed, please email me. Include specifics of the change (new signage, washout, etc.), trail name and location (coordinates if possible), photograph(s), and date. Useful contributions will be acknowledged in the next edition.


The guide is available at the following retailers

Online and phone orders available at most retailers. Contact the bookseller for details.





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