Front-country Experience

A golden-mantled ground squirrel stands on a cut stump.
A golden-mantled ground squirrel surveys its surroundings from a stump.

NPS/Gianna Farrell


Valles Caldera National Preserve is home to volcanic features, diverse high-elevation ecosystems, an abundance of wildlife, and a rich cultural history extending back more than 10,000 years and continuing today. All of this and more can be experienced within the front-country of the park.


Here are just some of the activities you can experience when visiting the front-country:

  • Discover the tectonic processes that caused the volcanic eruptions that sculpted the landscape
  • Explore the Cerro la Jara lava dome
  • Observe a diverse array of wildlife, such as elk, coyotes, kestrels, prairie dogs, and bluebirds
  • Walk through an expansive, high-elevation prairie
  • Walk through an old-growth ponderosa pine forest
  • Learn about the deep human history that goes back more than 10,000 years
  • Connect with family and friends in an awe-inspiring location
  • Watch monsoon storms roll across Valle Grande
  • Look for evidence of past human activity, from the carving obsidian tools to sheepherding and cattle-ranching
  • Listen to nature or tune into quiet
  • Observe the majesty of the night sky
  • Explore the park through the camera lens, painting canvas, or poetic words
  • Witness the impacts of human on the ecosystem
  • Support the park by volunteering, donating, or shopping in the park store
  • In the summer, join a ranger program to learn more about this natural and cultural gem
  • Go for a hike or ride
  • In the winter, explore by skis or snowshoes
  • Fish the East Fork Jemez River or Jaramillo Creek

Experience the Front-country

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    Last updated: May 15, 2023

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    PO Box 359
    Jemez Springs, NM 87025


    575 829-4100 x3

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