Valles Caldera is home to the second largest elk population in New Mexico. Other popular residents include Gunnison prairie dogs, coyotes, badgers, black bears, mountain bluebirds, and kestrels.
Habitat preferences and seasonal cycles of movement determine where a particular animal may be at a particular time. Early morning and evening hours are when animals tend to be feeding and thus are more easily seen. But remember that the numbers and variety of animals you see are largely a matter of luck and coincidence.
Wildlife are truly wild and in their natural environment in Valles Caldera. Therefore, they will protect themselves and their young from any perceived threats. Please follow these safety tips for a positive experience for both you and the wildlife.
Remember, it is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within any distance that disturbs or displaces them.
Also be sure to visit our page that provides advice about bear and mountain lion safety.
Last updated: September 5, 2023