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USDA Forest Service Regional Office

Sante Fe National Forest – Walatowa Visitor Center
The Walatowa Visitor Center is owned and managed by the Pueblo of Jemez. In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, the Walatowa Visitor Center disseminates information about the Pueblo of Jemez, Santa Fe National Forest, Jemez Mountain National Recreation Area, Jemez Wild and Scenic River, Jem...
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Big Valle
Description: The Big Valle is the largest meadow in the Valle Vidal unit, and can only be accessed by foot, horse, or mountain bike.

Wildlife to Watch: This meadow is home to hundreds of cow elk in the spring (May 1-June 30) as they give birth to the next generation. New elk calves can be observed from Forest Road 1950 in the spring, but visitors are not allowed in the meadow itself until after June 30 to limit the disturbance to these new babies. After June 30, as you hike through the Big Valle after June 30, you may observe bear, hawks, songbirds, deer, and turkey. This meadow also hosts a great coldwater fishery stream that is home to the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout (See New Mexico Fishing Regulations).

Special Tips: There is an elk calving closure in this area from May 1 to June 30. This closure requires visitors to stay on Forest Road 1950, and to remain inside their vehicles until they reach Cimarron Campground. You may park at the Big Valle Overlook, and use binoculars to observe the calves during this time period.

Ownership: USDA Forest Service, Carson NF, Questa Ranger District 
Size: N/A 
Closest Town: Amalia, NM

ParkingFishingHikingHorse TrailsBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Big Valle - Photo by USDA Forest Service
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
This meadow can be accessed after June 30 by Forest 1950 from Amalia or Cimarron, NM. Then take road to La Belle parking area. Once there, hike along old closed road to the meadow. A high clearance vehicle is suggested for Forest Road 1950.

Map Link

Big Valle : Wildlife Viewing Area