.  
 New Mexico logo

Dates of visit:
May 31 - June 2, 2011

For location of this site in NM, click on the map:
Location of Jemez Mountain Trail
 

We rate this site a:

Site Highlights:
 Gilman Tunnels
 Soda Dam
 Highway 4
 Jemez Mission
 Jemez Springs
 La Cueva
 Overlooks
 Valles Caldera
 Scenic Vistas

 Kachina

[ Home ] [ Travel Page ]
Jemez Mountain Trail, Hwy. 4, New Mexico
The Jemez Mountain Trail twists through time and terrain. Bubbling hot springs, vermillion desert cliffs, and snowy alpine peaks surround visitors driving from a million-year-old volcano caldera to 13th century Native dwellings to a museum showcasing the birth of the atomic age. The 66-mile byway begins at the junction of U.S. 550 and N.M. 4 northwest of Bernalillo in the pastoral village of San Ysidro, named for the patron saint of farmers. Make the whole loop, or head off from Los Alamos toward Española or Santa Fe. It makes a delightful day’s jaunt from the Albuquerque or Santa Fe area.
* * * * Gilman Tunnels * * * *
Gilman Tunnels Located on NM Hwy. 485, just north of the hamlet of Gilman, the Gilman tunnels were originally blasted out of the rock in the 1920's for a logging railroad and are quite high. There are several spectacular turnouts on the short climb.

Logging ruins can still be found above the road on Peggy Mesa. There are great views of the Guadalupita and Virgin mesas. There are numerous and several large ruins on the tops of these mesas.

Location of Gilman Tunnels ... map

Text and map source: Gilman Tunnels Mountain Bike Loop ...
http://www.nmts.org/rides/gilmanTunnelsMTB.htm

Video recorded on: May 31, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.
Gilman Tunnels
Gilman Tunnel Gilman Tunnel Gilman Tunnel


* * * * Jemez Springs and Soda Dam * * * *
Jémez Springs ... Below the vermillion mesas along N.M. 4 sits the quaint village of Jémez Springs. A good spot for a meal and a bit of shopping, Jemez Springs offers outfitting for hiking, mountain biking, camping, or fishing, and a good-size helping of Western fun. Don't miss the vintage bath house, country store, or real saloon complete with swinging doors.
Village web site ... http://www.jemezsprings.org/

Soda Dam The Soda Dam, along NM state road 4, is a large hot spring deposit, made mostly of calcium carbonate. The springs used to empty out onto the dam over the Jemez River, but most of the water now exits from the road cut across the road. Courtesy of the NM Department of Transportation. The Soda Dam hot spring waters start at the Valles Caldera, heated by the hot rock and magma beneath. They travel as hot ground water through Pennsylvanian limestone and shale, and rise to the surface along a fault at the Soda Dam. Most of the carbonate rock of the Dam bears traces of algal filaments, and Soda Dam rock has been used in studies of how ancient Martian life might be detected.
Text source:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/treiman/greatdesert/workshop/sodadam1/


Video recorded on: May 31, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.
Soda Dam
Soda Dam Soda Dam Soda Dam


* * * * San Diego Canyon Overlook * * * *
San Diego Canyon Overlook San Diego Canyon Overlook (sometimes called Dark Canyon Overlook) is a scenic short hike from NM Hwy. 4 to the brim of the canyon cliffs.

Spectacular exposures of Permian Yeso Group overlain by tilted and faulted late Oligocene to Pleistocene sedimentary and volcanic rocks are preserved at the head of the canyon to the north of Jemez Springs in Cañon de San Diego in the southwestern Jemez Mountains.

Rocks exposed at the mouth of the canyon include the fossiliferous limestone and shale of the Pennsylvanian Madera Group and the red siltstone and arkosic channel sandstone deposits of the Permian Abo Formation. These rocks record the gradual transition from deposition in a shallow ocean during late Pennsylvanian time to deposition in a meandering river system with headwaters to the west and northeast of the area as the seas retreated to the south during Permian time.

Location of Canyon Overlook ... map

Text and map Source:
http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/state/jemez_monument/church_canyon/home.html

Video recorded on: May 31, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.
San Diego Canyon Overlook
San Diego Canyon Overlook San Diego Canyon Overlook San Diego Canyon Overlook


* * * * Jemez Mission Monument * * * *
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument is a special place to learn about the history of the Jemez Mountain Trail area. This monument has exhibitions and self-guided tours. Ranger-guided tours are also given upon request. Currently, over 500,000 people visit this and Bandelier National Monument every year.

The pueblo was first built in the AD 1500s by ancestors of the modern residents of Jemez Pueblo. The Jemez people lived a typical Southwestern lifestyle for that time. They raised corn, beans and squash in Jemez Canyon along the Jemez River and also up on the nearby mesas. They hunted deer, rabbits, elk, and other game from the forests. They had plenty of water from the Jemez River, and hot springs nearby. In the best of times they may have had a somewhat idyllic life, but the climate could be fickle.

Jemez State Monument consists of the ruins of an ancient pueblo of the Jemez people known as Giusewa and the ruins of a 17th Century Spanish Mission known as San Jose de los Jemez. The mission had a unique octagonal-shaped bell tower.

The Towa pueblo and Spanish mission ruins at Jemez State Monument are in a setting of remarkable beauty, though the atmosphere has not always been so serene as now. Six hundred years ago, the Jemez people built villages in the narrow mountain valley and on the tops of the steep, sculptured mesas, naming one valley village "Giusewa" for the many hot springs in the area. In the 17th century, the peace was interrupted when the Catholic mission was built in Giusewa during Spain's colonization of New Mexico. In time, the people abandoned the site, and religious activities became centered at what is now Jemez Pueblo. The massive ruins of the church of San Jose de los Jemez are among the most impressive in the Southwest. The visitor center contains a library and exhibits interpreting historic events from the perspective of the Jemez People.

Text sources:
http://www.newmexico.org/explore/monuments/jemez.php
http://www.jemezmountaintrail.org/Monuments.html

Video recorded on: June 1, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.
Jemez Mission Monument
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument
Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument Jemez Mission Monument


* * * * Valles Caldera Preserve * * * *
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera National Preserve ... The one million-year-old Valles Caldera (15-mi diameter) is the centerpiece of the Jemez Volcanic Field in North Central New Mexico. The caldera was formed when the volcanic pile collapsed in response to a huge eruption of ash from the magma chamber. Subsequent resurgence of magma formed domes along the caldera ring fracture, including Redondo Peak which is over 3000 feet above the caldera floor.

Today the Baca Ranch encompasses most of the Valles Caldera. After two years of negotiations, the White House reached an agreement to buy the 95,000 acre ranch for $101 million to permanently protect as national preserve lands.

The Valles Caldera National Preserve was a private ranch until 2000, when Congress created it from a well-known ranch known as "the Baca Ranch" in New Mexico's volcanic Jemez Mountain Range. This 89,000 acre property is situated inside a collapsed crater. Studded with eruptive domes and featuring Redondo Peak (11,254 feet), this old ranch property is now being developed to explore a new way of managing public lands.

Valles Caldera - ElkWildlife ... Visitors love to see elk herds dotting the vast grasslands inside the caldera. Some 2,500-3,500 may be on the preserve during the summer parts, a part of the Jemez Mountain elk herd. It's the second largest in the state (the largest is found in the Gila Mountains in southwest New Mexico). During the early summer (late-May into early-June), you may spot solitary cow elk with their newborns at their side. Often calving in the open, the mothers find a safe place to hide the newborns until they are old enough to keep up with herd.

Valles CalderaLater in the summer, the young elk are minded as a group by several cows in a "nursery herd." By fall, the cows are ready for breeding and "the rut" (breeding season) reaches its peak by mid-Sept. As winter snows deepen, many elk leave the preserve for lower elevations and more food. Some head south to grasslands in an old burn area in Bandelier National Monument, southeast of the preserve. Others may head north and west of the preserve in search of forage.

By late spring, the elk return to the caldera again. The bull elk drop their antlers in late March and into April, and the new antlers begin to grow soon after. The elk feed hungrily on the new spring grass, dropping their heavy coats as the days lengthen and warm. Prairie dog towns dot the preserve, full of life. Visitors frequently seek coyotes on the hunt. A breeding pair of Golden Eagles has made the preserve their summer home, and is often seen by visitors along Jaramillo Creek. Nearly 60 species of birds breed in the caldera during the summer (Bird Checklist). Wild turkey, black bear, bobcat and even the reclusive mountain lion are just some of what our visitors chance upon during their hike, while fishing, or on a van tour. This rich abundance of the preserve's mountain forests and grasslands are part of the experience you'll treasure.

Valles Caldera Photography Adventure ... maps, hints, elk locations ...  (980 Kb)

Valles Caldera Geology and science ... Valles Caldera is one of the smaller volcanoes in the supervolcano class. The circular topographic rim of the caldera measures 19 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter. The caldera and surrounding volcanic structures are the most thoroughly studied caldera complex in the United States. Research studies have concerned the fundamental processes of magmatism, hydrothermal systems, and ore deposition. Nearly 40 deep cores have been examined, resulting in extensive subsurface data.

Valles Caldera The Valles Caldera is the younger of two calderas known at this location, having collapsed over and buried the Toledo Caldera, which in turn may have collapsed over yet older calderas. The associated Cerros del Rio volcanic field, which forms the eastern Pajarito Plateau and the Caja del Rio, is older than the Toledo Caldera. These two large calderas formed during eruptions 1.47 million and 1.15 million years ago. The Caldera and surrounding area continue to be shaped by ongoing volcanic activity. The El Cajete Pumice, Battleship Rock Ignimbrite, Banco Bonito Rhyolite, and the VC-1 Rhyolite were emplaced during the youngest eruption of Valles caldera, about 50,000-60,000 years ago. Seismic investigations show that a low-velocity zone lies beneath the caldera, and an active geothermal system with hot springs and fumaroles exists today.

Valles Caldera The volcanic properties of the Valles Caldera make it a likely source for renewable and nonpolluting geothermal energy. However, some people oppose development of the geothermal energy, considering it destructive to scenic beauty and recreational and grazing use. The lower Bandelier tuff which can be seen along canyon walls west of the Valles Caldera, including San Diego Canyon, is related to the eruption and collapse of the Toledo Caldera. The upper Bandelier tuff is believed to have been deposited during eruption and collapse of the Valles Caldera. The now eroded and exposed orange-tan, light-colored Bandelier tuff from these events creates the stunning mesas of the Pajarito Plateau.

These calderas and associated volcanic structures lie within the Jemez Volcanic Field. This volcanic field lies above the intersection of the Rio Grande Rift, which runs north-south through New Mexico, and the Jemez Lineament, which extends from southeastern Arizona northeast to western Oklahoma. The volcanic activity here is related to the tectonic movements of this intersection.

Films shot in Valles Caldera ... Valles Caldera has provided several filming locations, most for films in the Western genre. Some of these locations include exterior sets, such as the weathered "ranch house" that can be seen from the highway in Valle Grande, and a small "town".

Valles Caldera - Buffalo Girls Valles Caldera - Missing

  • 1971 Shoot Out with Gregory Peck
  • 1977 Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (TV) with Leif Garrett
  • 1982 The Gambler (TV) with Kenny Rogers
  • 1994 Troublemakers with Terence Hill
  • 1995 Buffalo Girls (TV) with Anjelica Huston
  • 1997 Last Stand at Saber River (TV) with Tom Selleck
  • 2003 The Missing with Tommy Lee Jones
  • 2007 Seraphim Falls with Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan
Text sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valles_Caldera

Video recorded on: June 1, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.


Video recorded on: June 2, 2011
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.
Valles Caldera Panoramas
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera General Views
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera Valles Caldera Valles Caldera
Valles Caldera Elk
Valles Caldera Elk Valles Caldera Elk Valles Caldera Elk
Valles Caldera "Missing" Movie Set
Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set
Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set
Valles Caldera "Buffalo Girls" Movie Set
Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set
Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set Valles Caldera Movie Set
Valles Caldera Nature
Valles Caldera Nature Valles Caldera Nature Valles Caldera Nature


[ Home ] [ Travel Page ]