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Winter Prescribed Burns

Status of the prescribed burns being done this winter:

  • Cerro Seco (121 acres): January 8-21
  • South Mountain (980 acres): TBD
  • San Antonio Mountain (722 acres): TBD
  • Cerro San Luis (670 acres): TBD
  • Banco Bonito (2 acres): TBD

More information in the initial news release on the prescribed burns.

 

Human Health

The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, access to Valles Caldera National Preserve is as follows:

  • The park landscape remains open to vehicles along NM-4 and pedestrian/bicycle access along trails, as designated.
  • There are some areas of the park that can be explored from NM-4 including the following trails in the Valle Grande District: Coyote Call, Rabbit Ridge, and Valle Grande. West of the main entrance, the Banco Bonito and Sulphur Canyon areas also have trails to explore, all of which are accessible from NM-4.
  • The road to the Entrance Station is open during normal park operating hours. The Entrance Station is open to the public. Masks are required to be worn in the building, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Vehicle access to the backcountry is possible with a permit obtained at the Entrance Station. The Ranger Station is open to the public. Masks are required to be worn in the building, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Visitors may fish on all waters within the preserve with a NPS permit and New Mexico fishing license. Fall elk hunting with a NPS special use permit for Unit 6B is also allowed with a permit. Please obey all preserve regulations.

While the listed areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased, and services may be limited. When recreating, please follow state health orders and recreate responsibly by physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distance cannot be maintained, avoiding high risk activities, and staying home if you feel sick.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Fully vaccinated people who are at least two weeks past their final shot are not required to wear masks outdoors. Masks are still necessary when in buildings.

 

Weather Conditions

Valles Caldera National Preserve is located at the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains, where the regional climate is semi-arid continental. Annual precipitation is dominated by summer monsoon rains (thunderstorms) in July and August, and winter snowstorms in December through March. From 2004 to 2013, temperatures in January and July averaged 22°F and 60°F, respectively, at the Valle Grande Headquarters weather station.

Temperature extremes range from a high of 84°F in summer to -30°F in winter; the lowest temperature (including the wind-chill factor) recorded on the preserve was -50°F in December 2013. The table below shows precipitation (rain and snowfall) and temperatures by month; units are in metric and English systems.

Look current weather data from weather measurement stations in the preserve.

 

Loading weather forecast...

 
Average precipitation and average mean monthly temperature at Valle Grande Headquarters meteorological station:
Valle Grande HQ
Meteorological
Station
Average
Precipitation
(mm)
Average
Precipitation
(inches)
Average
Mean
Monthly
Temperature
(C.)
Average
Mean
Monthly
Temperature
(F.)
January 36 1.40 -5.2 22.6
February 34 1.32 -4.4 24.1
March 33 1.30 0.1 32.3
April 50 1.97 3.7 38.7
May 37 1.45 8.3 46.9
June 25 0.99 13.1 55.5
July 108 4.26 15.3 59.5
August 104 4.10 14.3 57.7
September 57 2.25 10.5 50.8
October 56 2.19 5.2 41.3
November 21 0.83 0.3 32.6
December 44 1.74 -4.4 24.1
Annual Total 605 23.82 4.7 40.5

 
The preserve operates six weather stations within its boundaries, plus two stations in the Santa Fe National Forest, and one station at the administrative offices in Jemez Springs. The US Forest Service operates an additional three stations just outside the preserve in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Each weather station measures wind speed and direction, net radiation, air temperature and humidity, barometric pressure, precipitation, soil moisture at 5, 10, and 30 cm depth, and soil temperature at 1, 10, and 40 cm depth.

Current and archived data from these stations are available online from the Desert Research Institute's Western Regional Climate Center: Current and archived data from this station.

A Climate Reference Network (CRN) weather station, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also operates in the Valle Grande of the VCNP. Current and archived CRN data.

A SNOTEL station is located just east of the preserve boundary on the Santa Fe National Forest. This station, operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), collects standard weather information as well as snow-depth and snow water content (SWE) data. These data can be found online at: Current and archived data from this station.

A second SNOTEL station is located within the preserve on Garita Peak. These data can be found online at: Garita Peak SNOTEL station data.

The University of Arizona's NSF-funded Critical Zone Observatory maintains additional instrumentation at their research sites within the Preserve, including snow depth sensors, flux towers, and meteorological stations. More detailed information and datasets.

Last updated: January 21, 2022

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 359
Jemez Springs , NM 87025

Phone:

575 829-4100 x3

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