Valles Caldera

Ranger-led Activities

A park ranger gestures with both hands while addressing a group on a guided hike in a grassland.
A ranger speaks to a group during a guided hike in Valle Grande.

NPS/Corey Lycopolus

The National Park Week logo for 2024 includes green trees, an orange sunset, and a condor in flight.
The 2024 National Park Week logo.


Want to learn more about Valles Caldera's geology, history, wildlife, and more? We invite you to participate in a ranger program during your visit! Valles Caldera National Preserve offers engaging programs all year-round. Check out current and upcoming offerings in the listings below! We expect to add several more programs to this list for the 2024 season.

Summer Programs

Art in the Park Day

Date: Sunday, April 28, 2024
Time: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Location: Ranger Station

Celebrate National Park Week with us at Valles Caldera National Preserve on Art in the Park Day! Throughout the day, plein air painters will be set up all over Valle Grande, creating beautiful landscape paintings in real time. Participate in a landscape photography workshop at 10:00 am, write haiku poetry at 11:00 am, or create a springtime craft with a ranger at 1:00 pm. Art demonstrations will also occur throughout the day at the Ranger Station. We hope to see you there!

Flyfishing Clinics

Dates: June 1, June 29, July 20, August 17
Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Valles Caldera National Preserve and New Mexico Trout are partnering again this summer to offer free fishing clinics for beginner anglers. Registration is required and will open approximately 2 weeks in advance for each clinic.

Clinics will include classroom instruction, casting practice, and an afternoon of fishing on Valles Caldera's streams. All youth participants must be accompanied by an adult. Participants ages 12 and over must have:

  • a valid NMDGF fishing license
  • a valid Valles Caldera annual fishing permit (permit fees will be waived for this event)
  • a Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) stamp

Registration links will activate at 8:00 AM MDT exactly two weeks in advance.

Nature Journaling

Dates: May 19, June 2, June 30, July 28
Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: Meet at the Ranger Station

Led by one of our rangers, this program will begin with learning about the natural and geologic history of Valles Caldera. The second portion of this program is designed to introduce participants to the art of nature journaling, offering hands-on learning experience and the opportunity to engage with nature, develop observational skills, and create meaningful connections with the environment. Participants should come prepared for a hike of up to 2 miles on the South Mountain Trail. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own journal/notebook and writing utensil. Program duration will be 1.5 to 2 hours.

Fire History Walks

Dates: June 8, July 6, August 3
Time: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Meet at the Ranger Station

This program will focus on the relationship between humans and fire among the ancestral Puebloans, after the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, during the fire suppression era, and in the modern period of massive wildfires. Through learning about this history, participants will understand the long- and short-term causes of the Cerro Grande, Las Conchas, Thompson Ridge, and Cerro Pelado fires. The program will begin at the Ranger Station in the Cabin District and include a short hike out to History Grove, an old-growth ponderosa pine forest. It is approximately 2 hours in duration.

Fly Tying Lessons

Date: June 15, July 13, August 10, September 7
Time: 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Location: Ranger Station

Fly tying is an ancient art that combines elements of science, creativity, art, and sport. Participants will learn the basics of fly tying with a focus on easy-to-tie patterns that can be used for fishing in Valles Caldera. This program is geared towards absolute beginners through intermediate tyers. All people ages 10-and-up are welcome. All materials will be provided and registration is required. The program is approximately 1.5 hours in duration.

Registration links will activate at 8:00 AM MDT exactly two weeks in advance.

The Milky Way galaxy rises vertically above the dark silhouettes of mountains.
The Milky Way rises above Cerro La Jara.

Courtesy of NPS volunteer Stan Ford

Night Sky Programs

Night sky programs are offered from May to October in conjunction with the full moon and new moon.

Sopapillas y Estrellas - A Public Night Sky Event

Date: Friday, July 5, 2024

You are invited to Valles Caldera National Preserve on Friday, July 5, for a night of stargazing in your International Dark Sky Park. Registration is not required. The main entrance will be open to all during this special event! More information coming soon.

Astrophotography Workshops

Dates: May 24 (full moon), June 7 (new moon), July 19 (full moon), August 30 (new moon), September 27 (new moon)

With Valles Caldera National Preserve (an International Dark Sky Park) as an outdoor classroom, park volunteer Stan Ford will guide program participants through the basics of astrophotography. Learn how to adjust and optimize DSLR camera settings, select a shooting location, and, of course, shoot spectacular images of the night sky. Registration required.

Registration links will activate at 8:00 AM MDT exactly two weeks in advance.

Moonlit La Jara Walk

Dates: June 21, August 16, September 20

Experience the dark side of Valles Caldera and join a ranger for a hike around Cerro la Jara to discover the nocturnal wonders of the park. Registration required. Meet at the park's main entrance 15-30 minutes before the start of the program. Bring water, snacks, and a red light. Wear sturdy shoes and warm clothing. Two hours and about 1.5 miles (2.4 km). Program will be cancelled if inclement weather is forecast.

Registration links will activate at 8:00 AM MDT exactly two weeks in advance.

Stargazing in the Caldera

Dates: August 2, September 6

Take in the majesty of the celestial sky and learn about the stars, constellations, and planetary bodies in this International Dark Sky Park. Registration required. Meet at the park's main entrance 15-30 minutes before the start of the program. Bring water, snacks, a red light, telescope, and your own seating. Wear warm clothing. 1.5 hours. Program will be cancelled if inclement weather or cloud cover is forecast.

Registration links will activate at 8:00 AM MDT exactly two weeks in advance.

A large group of volunteers and park employees stands in a group and smiles at us from behind a historic cabin.
National Public Lands Day 2022 participants removed sandbags that protected the Cabin District from flash flooding and landslides following the Thompson Ridge Fire.


National Public Lands Day

Next Event: Saturday, September 28, 2024

Each September, come support the park and spend a day volunteering and exploring beautiful Valles Caldera. We offer different ways to celebrate the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open spaces for education, recreation, and health benefits.

Volunteer Projects

Give a morning of your time to help improve the experience at Valles Caldera. In 2023, volunteers helped construct bumper logs to protect roadside vegetation and ensured a clean environment along NM-4. At the end of the projects, volunteers enjoyed a picnic, received tokens of appreciation, and a day pass to visit a public land area for free.

  • Meeting time and location: 9:15 am at the park's Entrance Station
  • Duration: 3-4 hours

Looking for more ways to get involved at Valles Caldera? Check out Volunteer - Valles Caldera National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (

Ranger Programs

Rangers take visitors on a guided walks to learn more about Valles Caldera and the value of public lands.

Yoga in the Park

A ranger-led gentle yoga class outdoors overlooking the majestic Valle Grande that gave visitors a chance to experience the healing benefits of public lands.


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Nearby Programs

Want to experience more National Park Service interpretive programs during your visit to the Jemez Mountains? Join ranger at neighboring Bandelier National Monument or Manhattan Project National Historical Park, both approximately 30 minutes east of Valles Caldera.


Last updated: May 7, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

090 Villa Louis Martin Dr.
Jemez Springs, NM 87025


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