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 many areas of the park that can be easily explored from NM-4 including the following trails in the Valle Grande District: Missing Link, Coyote Call, Coyote Call Connector, Rabbit Ridge, and Valle Grande. West of the Valle Grande, the Banco Bonito and Sulphur Canyon areas also have many trails to explore, all of which are easily accessible from NM-4. Visitors may fish on all waters within the park with an NPS permit and New Mexico fishing license. Fall elk hunts are on-going subject to an NPS special use permit. Please obey all park 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 keeping social distance, wearing a face covering when social 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. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
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.
Average precipitation and average mean monthly temperature at Valle Grande Headquarters meteorological station:
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: November 19, 2020