A new book by local hiker Coco Rae on the Valles Caldera National Preserve is now available. Courtesy photo
First comprehensive guide to one of New Mexico’s greatest natural treasures now available
Avid hiker and local resident Coco Rae was awestruck the first time she saw the Valles Caldera in the Jemez Mountains and was eager to explore its hidden valleys and volcanic hills. Limited maps and trail information made planning a hike difficult, so after she began volunteering at Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) in 2018, she decided to write her own guidebook.
Over 18 months of research and hundreds of miles of trails, Rae meticulously documented the backcountry of VCNP, recording routes with GPS and noting conditions and challenges unique to each trail. She photographed the Preserve’s dramatic landscape and thoroughly researched its unique geologic and cultural history.
Now available and in time for VCNP’s 20th anniversary as public land, Hiking Trails in Valles Caldera National Preserve makes this remarkable landscape more accessible to outdoor enthusiasts than ever before. The first truly comprehensive guide to VCNP, Rae’s book offers detailed descriptions of over 25 trails accompanied by topographical maps, recommendations for mountain bikers and photographs. Sections on wilderness safety and ethics, Preserve regulations and a lively chapter on the history of the caldera round out the book, providing everything a hiker or biker needs to explore the Preserve.
In his foreword to Hiking Trails in Valles Caldera National Preserve, local writer Tom Ribe, author of Inferno by Committee, notes Rae’s guidebook “provides previously unavailable guidance to the trailheads and trails that deepen our experience of a place, drawing us into this unique world that will nurture our spirits…[It] opens a world of opportunity, a lifetime of day hikes to be done again and again in the high New Mexico air.”
Hiking Trails in Valles Caldera National Preserve is available at VCNP’s bookstore and Bandelier National Monument’s Bookstore; Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and the Los Alamos History Museum in Los Alamos; Collected Works, Garcia Street Books, Travel Bug and op.cit books in Santa Fe, and other local retailers.
For more information, see https://vcnp-trails.com.