Winter is a spectacular time to visit the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The preserve has miles of trails for the adventurous skier and snowshoer. Remember that you are traveling in an environment with unpredictable wildlife, changing weather conditions, deep snow, and snow covered streams. Your safety is not guaranteed. Be prepared for any situation and know the limits of your ability. With a little bit of preparation, many exciting activities await you. Be sure to layer up with insulating, waterproof clothing, wear sunglasses, use sunscreen and carry water.
Picture yourself gliding through an open valle or a silent forest full of fresh, white snow. Cross-country skiing is a rejuvenating sport that pairs physical exercise with the beauty of nature. You will need skis and poles with large baskets. Waterproof pants or gaiters help keep you warm and dry. In general, terrain and deeper snows on north slopes in the preserve make for better for cross-country skiing, but you are welcome to strap on your skis throughout the preserve.
Cross-country skies are not available for rent within the preserve.
SnowshoeingEver thought how fun it would be to hike in the winter, but there's all that snow? Consider snowshoeing! It's as easy as strapping snowshoes on your boots and grabbing a couple of poles. No training is necessary, and, if you can hike, you can snowshoe. Most preserve trails can be explored with snowshoes. A few pieces of equipment are essential: you will need a pair of snowshoes and waterproof boots. Poles are helpful for maintaining balance, but optional. Waterproof pants or gaiters help keep you warm and dry.
The Valle Grande Bookstore has a limited number of snowshoes and poles available for rent.
Some Important Tips:
Seasonal ConditionsSnow volume varies from year to year so call the entrance station (575-829-4100, option #3) for current conditions. The ski and snowshoe season usually lasts from mid-December to mid-March. The trails are open all year to hiking, biking, and equestrian riding.
Vehicle access during the winter season is limited to the Valle Grande Contact Station. Backcountry Vehicle Permits are only available during the summer season.
Valles Caldera will not be offering sleigh rides this winter.
Last updated: January 30, 2020