Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Springs
Caldera in Spanish means "kettle" or "cauldron"; in geology, this term has come to be known as a volcanic collapse crater. Large calderas are formed from massive eruptions ...... the ejected magma leaves a void in the earth and the ejected cinder and rock falls back into the newly formed hole forming a caldera.
The Valles Caldera is about 14 miles in diameter, and is one of the best studied calderas in North America. As you pass by, you see a beautiful meadow and rolling hills that are very different from the surrounding topography. This region is also a nature preserve which hosts public events throughout the year - for a fee of course.
I haven't been into the preserve, I have only skirted the edges .... I'm not organized enough to make a reservation, or check the website for events. So I hope the attached website will help you enjoy more fully this beautiful area .......
Psst - BTW, all of the hot springs in the region have origins under this valley ....
If you are coming from the Albuquerque area, you will naturally drive through the portion of this drive known as the Jemez corridor.
Driving along this trail is a journey through time. A leisurely day trip takes you past amazing geological formations, ancient Indian ruins, the Jemez Pueblo and the remainders of the area's logging, mining and ranching heritage. Much of the region is now a National Recreation Area, and there are many opportunities for hiking, fishing, camping and cross country skiing. The Jemez Mountains are famous for their natural hot springs.
In addition to stopping along the riverbank picnic and fishing areas, I simply love to look at the rock formations ....... the colors of these formations remind me of fall leaves .....