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Backcountry Vehicle Route in Valles Caldera Opens Today

Jemez Springs, NM – Today is opening day for the 2024 season of the backcountry vehicle route in Valles Caldera National Preserve. Every day, 35 vehicle passes are available ahead of time.


Anyone interested in visiting the backcountry by vehicle can reserve a pass by visiting the Valles Caldera Backcountry Vehicle Pass web page on Recreation.gov.


In addition, for 2024, the park is introducing 5 daily first-come, first-served passes. These passes will be available starting at 10 am each day. Visitors can stop by the Entrance Station to have a ranger issue those passes. To make the experience even better, the park is also in the process of installing an automatic gate at the start of the backcountry vehicle route. Once the gate installation is complete, visitor with their backcountry vehicle pass will be able to enter their access code without having to get out of their vehicle.


“This year we have adjusted the system in response to trends other national park sites have noticed in their reservation systems and what we heard from visitors,” said Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos. “We hope people find this adjustment provides even more opportunity to experience the backcountry, while still prioritizing ecosystem health.”


2023 was the first year of the backcountry vehicle passes on Recreation.gov. Nearly 5,800 passes were issued, with nearly 4,500 of those being reserved and the remaining 1,300 issued onsite. Out of the 185 days the backcountry vehicle route was open, there were 52 days when all 35 passes were reserved ahead of time.


For additional details, visit the park’s Backcountry Experience web page.

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