This charming small resort town—really just a handful of little clapboard buildings tucked in the narrow valley along the road—is the most convenient place to indulge in some of the area’s springs, which are a stew of minerals and trace elements such as lithium that have inspired tales of miraculous healing since tourists began visiting in the 1870s.
Giggling Springs (Hwy. 4, 575/829-9175, www.gigglingsprings.com , 11 a.m.–sunset Tues.–Sun. June–Aug., Wed.–Sun Sept.–May, $15/hour or $35/day), built in the 1880s, has a luxe-meets-rough feel, with a relatively small spring-fed pool enclosed in an attractively landscaped flagstone area right near the Jemez River.
The Jemez Springs Bath House (Hwy. 4, 505/829-3303, www.jemezspringsbathhouse.com , 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily May–Sept., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri. and Sat. Oct.–Apr., $15/hour) is operated by the village; here, the springs have been diverted into eight individual private soaking tubs; call ahead to reserve. Massages and other spa treatments are available.
For a bite to eat, Consetta’s, the Green Restaurant (Hwy. 4, 505/829-4455, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Wed.–Mon. May–Oct., $12), on the south edge of town, serves veggie-friendly fare such as miso pesto, as well as eggplant parmesan and crisp-crust pizzas from its solar-powered kitchen; in the spring and fall, call first to check hours.
Just south of the two bathhouses, the Laughing Lizard (Hwy. 4, 505/829-3108, $10) is also tasty, and open a bit more of the year than Consetta’s.
If you’re just craving a burger after your bath, head to Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon (Hwy. 4, 505/829-3547, 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $8), where horseshoes double as window grills and the atmosphere hasn’t changed in decades.
If you’re planning to explore the wilderness and missed the Walatowa Visitors Center at Jemez Pueblo , you can stop at the Jemez Ranger District Office (Hwy. 4, 505/829-3535, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) for info.
There’s also a visitors center for Valles Caldera National Preserve  (Hwy. 4, 505/661-3333, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) here too—stop in to arrange reservations for the park, or to see if there are last-minute openings. Both are on the north edge of town.