Horseback Riding

Horses have been part of the Valles Caldera landscape for over 100 years.

To recreate inside the preserve, owners/riders must have an equestrian permit issued by the preserve. An electronic annual equestrian special use permit will be available beginning May 1st, 2021 and will be valid through October 31, 2021.

How To Get A Permit:
1. Click on the link and DOWNLOAD the Annual Equestrian Special Use Permit (SUP). You must DOWNLOAD it to your computer to be able to fill in your information and save it. You CANNOT fill it out online.Your information will not save.
2. You will need Adobe Reader to download and fill out this form online. You can also print and fill it out the good old-fashioned way and mail the application to the preserve.
3. Electronically fill in the required information.
4. Read and understand the "Rules and Regulations." Signing the application is your legal agreement to abide by the rules.
5. Don't forget to Electronically sign the application.
6. Save a copy on your computer.
7. Send an e-mail to vall_info@nps.gov and attach the file that you just saved.
8. Allow up to 7-14 business days for preserve staff to process your request.
9. When you receive a return confirmation e-mail, there will be two attachments containing your permit, and a vehicle dash permit, plus a wallet permit card.
10. Print the vehicle dash permit and the wallet permit card. Sign the wallet permit card and carry it with you while you’re riding. The vehicle dash permit is to stay on your dash while you are riding.

For questions and concerns, please contact us at VALL_Info@nps.gov or 575-829-4100 ext 3.

Riders will have to bring their own horses as the preserve does not have an equestrian concessionaire in operation. Conducting commercial activities requires a Commercial Use Authorization.

Rules of the Trail
  • Each individual riding a horse is required to have a separate permit. A group of riders may not exceed twelve (12) persons/horses in any one party under this permit. Groups of thirteen (13) or more must apply for a separate group special use permit by contacting the park's Special Park Use Coordinator.
  • A permit only applies to one (1) vehicle and horse trailer.
  • Riders are required to stay on trails specifically designated for equestrian use. Permittees are prohibited from establishing new trails, including by the short-cutting of trails and switchbacks. Clearing of vegetation and riding off-trail is prohibited.
  • A backcountry vehicle permit is required if you wish to drive your vehicle and trailer into the backcountry before beginning your horseback ride. Permits are limited and available seasonally as conditions allow.
  • Environmental and safety conditions (snowpack, erosion, flooding) can close certain trails to all public use.
  • Maximum stock per party is one animal per person, plus one pack animal, not to exceed 24 animals in any one party.
  • All animals must be under physical control at all times, must remain on roadways, trails, or permitted areas, and are prohibited from feeding/grazing on plant life within the preserve. Loose herding is not permitted.
  • Riding of stock at a speed greater than a trot is not permitted.
  • Any excrement from around trailers and haul homes will be removed from the preserve. Animals may not be stabled or corralled on preserve property and must be removed from the preserve at the end of the day (unless you are a hunter seeking permission for overnight stays). In places where horses and pack animals are tethered, manure must be scattered at least 300 feet from water sources.
  • The use of USDA certified weed-free pelleted feed is required while on the preserve. You're helping to prevent the spread of noxious weeds and keep the preserve worth riding in. All animals must be fed weed-free feed for 48 hours in advance of entering the preserve.
  • Travel in single file.
  • Horses and pack animals must be tethered at least 300 feet from water sources and in a manner to prevent damage to live trees or shrubs and away from vegetation, alcoves, and archaeological sites to prevent damage. Tying stock directly to trees or other sensitive preserve resources is prohibited.
  • Riders shall not ride double except for an adult/child combination.
  • Youth riders (16 years and under) are required to wear helmets.
  • Riders must be prepared to cross paths with other recreational users or vehicles.
  • The preserve does allow livestock grazing through a permit process and chances are likely that in some areas you will encounter wranglers working livestock.
  • Much of the preserve is over 8,000 feet in elevation. Acclimation of stock is advisable.
  • Remember, you are the best safety for your animals and yourself!
  • Information EVERY visitor needs to know.

Last updated: September 25, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 359
Jemez Springs, NM 87025

Phone:

(575) 829-4100 x3

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