Wandering Westward through Valle Caldera National Preserve and the Jemez Mountains

13 thoughts on “Wandering Westward through Valle Caldera National Preserve and the Jemez Mountains”

    1. I’m so glad my NM posts are inspiring a future trip! I have a lot more NM posts coming over the next couple of months, and I hope they provide more ideas for your itinerary 🙂 Do try to get to the Jemez Mountains when you go. I camped at Jemez Falls campground with my husband in September, and we hiked several trails in the area. Even though there was light rain falling most of our time there, it was still one of my favorite places I’ve ever been!

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for visiting and your kind comments 🙂 I love traveling with my dog and getting a glimpse at the natural world through her eyes, but it definitely determines one’s itinerary!

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    1. Aw, thanks Jay! Juniper is my favorite subject. I try not to include an obnoxious number of pup pictures in my posts. That said, I would probably have more readers if I dedicated the entire blog to her travels 😉 She is pretty darn cute.


  1. I remember Valle Caldera from a SW road trip we took a dozen years ago. The husband longs to do a Valle Caldera bike packing trip.
    On a completely different note, you can smell bear?!? I had no idea they had a scent you could detect in the woods. Good grief, between my inability to identify animal tracks and my lack of bear-smelling skills, I’m not a good candidate for a Safe Hiker poster. I might need you and Juniper to be my guide team.

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    1. Hahaha…I would not be a good guide. I am a scaredy-cat and avoid hiking in heavily bear populated areas when it’s just me and Juniper or I’m hiking by myself. When hiking the area with Robert in September, we stupidly left the bear spray and bear bell in the car for half of our hikes.

      I’m curious what the bear population is in Valle Caldera. It seems like a heavenly place for bears to live, except when they are running from the many forest fires that is. Although bear attacks in NM are rare, in 2016 a runner was attacked in Valle Caldera during an organized run (she survived).

      Bear scent is musky, a bit like a skunk’s scent. From what I’ve read, bears often do not have an odor, so if you are smelling one perhaps it is wet fur or something the bear has rolled in that causes the odor. In May or June it has something to do with mating. I have also read that the odor that they leave on trees, etc can linger for half an hour, maybe more. But once someone who knows bear scent has pointed it out, you will probably recognize it from that time forward.


  2. A comprehensive trail guide to VCNP was finally published in 2020: “Hiking Trails in Valles Caldera National Preserve,” by Coco Rae. It’s available at VCNP’s bookstore (all proceeds go to the preserve) and locally.


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