A rough but fairly level hike to and around two collapsed lava
tubes. This trail takes you through an open forest containing a
variety of trees such as aspen, ponderosa pine, piñon and juniper.
The lava tubes to which you hike are large and long (one of the
longest in North America). They are unlike anything else you will
see while hiking.
|Black Canyon Trail|
The Black Canyon trail is a short, easy lollipop trail through an
aspen-fir forest. If you take this trail, you will see several
types of wildflowers, and possibly lots of butterflies. This is
a good trail for children or a family.
|Borrego/Bear Wallow Trail|
This hike is a pleasant short-ish loop with some vertical relief (about 800 ft
elevation change) in an aspen-fir forest. Because of the aspen, this
hike would be especially nice in the fall. You could extend the length
of this hike by taking one of several other trails which intersect this
|Cebolla Mesa to the Rio Grande|
This hike is a short but steep scenic drop from the mesa down into the
Rio Grande Gorge. As you descend, you go through several biomes; the
trees change from piñon and juniper to blue spruce and Doug fir.
You start with desert plants and end with plants that live along rivers.
Add to this the great views and sounds of the river and you have a
This hike connects to the nearby BLM Wild Rivers area.
This easy hike is notable for being close enough to Albuquerque
that you can decide at the last minute to go hike it. It also is
easy enough to take young hikers. The network of trails gives you
many options of places to go, and it would be hard to get truly
lost here. It is a popular mountain biking area as well.
|Chaco Canyon Overlook|
A short, easy trail that ends with an excellent view of Fajada Butte and
much of the rest of Chaco canyon.
|Cienega Canyon to the Crest Trail|
This hike spends most of its time in a fir forest, with wildflowers
below. Much of this hike is in the shade, making it a good summer hike
(although it will still be hot).
To make a hike without retracing your way back, you could arrange a car
on the other side and go down the west side on the Pino trail.
A nice day-hike loop in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque. Parts
of the trail are along a stream, which may have water in non-drought
times. Also of interest was a travertine waterfall.
|Cliff Base Trail at Boca Negra Canyon in the Petroglyph National Monument|
1000 year-old petroglyphs await you on this short hike near
Albuquerque. In spite of the hike being so short, it has a lot of
interesting petroglyphs and lava formations.
|Cliff Dwellings Trail|
This trail to the Gila Cliff dwellings is a one-mile hike with a
small amount of elevation gain that provides intimate views into
the former dwellings of native peoples that inhabited the area from
the 1280s through the early 1300s. The cliff dwellings are situated
approximately half-way up the south-facing cliff and one can imagine
the area full of people grinding corn, preparing skins, talking,
playing, and carrying out the many daily activities of life. The
trail along the cliff dwellings is not shaded, so one can warm up
on this part during the winter, and cool off in the summer as one
enters the shaded dwellings. Nice views are obtained from the
dwellings. Ranger-guided tours provide a wealth of detail about
the people who lived here in the past.
|Columbine Canyon to the Meadows |
This easy hike is notable for the wildflowers, ending in meadows
of flowers. The flowers attract butterflies and other insects. In
contrast with many hikes along streams in New Mexico, the stream
crossings are on bridges, not slippery rocks.
|Crest Trail between the parking lot and the Tram terminal |
Both natives and people visiting Albuquerque hike this easy trail
for its spectacular views. If you hike this trail, you will be
rewarded by views of Albuquerque, Mt. Taylor, the Jemez mountains,
the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the San Pedro mountains, the Manzano
mountains, and Ladron peak, just to name a few. In the summer you
can enjoy the wildflowers along the trail. At any time of year you
can experience the history of the CCC by visiting the Kiwanis cabin.
You can hike from the Crest parking lot to the terminal and restaurant
at the top of the tram. Or, ride the tram up and hike it the other
way. The trail is well signed, and in spite of the collection of
trails all over the crest, it is hard to get lost. In fact, this
collection of trails makes it possible for you to do different parts in
each direction for much of the hike.
People who take this hike are rewarded with views both distant and local.
The distant views include White Sands, the Tularosa basin, and the Organ
and San Andreas mountains. The more local views are the spectacular
wildflowers, especially in the spring. If you hike all the way to the
top, you have climbed the western escarpment of the Sacramento mountains,
getting an excellent workout. As you climb, you are going going through
rocks (primarily limestones) that get younger as you approach the top.
About halfway up, you reach the cabin built by a rancher many
years ago, providing a historical element to the hike.
A nice loop from a piñon-juniper forest changing to a ponderosa-fir
forest as you slowly climb the southern Sandias. In wetter years,
you are likely to see many wildflowers. Of particular note is the
good view of Cedro peak and its environs. One of the more interesting
facets of this hike is the small shelter cave near the trailhead.
A stream parallels the first few hundred feet of the trail.
The trail is well-marked, easy to follow, and nicely clean.
In years past, all visitors took this route into Bandelier. Since the
road was built, many people are missing the great views that this trail
|Frijolito Ruins loop |
A short loop trail to a pueblo that tree ring data indicates was built
1431-1447. In addition to the ruins, you also get good views of the
canyon bottom, and views in all directions from the mesa top.
|Grande Vista Nature Trail|
This short, interpreted nature trail lives up to its name: Grande Vista,
or, (loosely translated), "great view", which you do get from this trail.
Additionally, you get to learn more about the nature in the area.
Due to the 2011 fire, this trail is closed. You should check with the
park before planning on hiking this trail.
|Holy Ghost campground loop|
A short loop around the Holy Ghost
campground. If the weather has been right, you will be rewarded by an
amazing diversity of wildflowers. If you are staying at the campground,
this is a loop you should consider.
|No tiny image|
|Hyde Park Circle Trail|
A trail with excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia,
San Pedro, and Ortiz mountains (i.e., views in most all directions).
This trail gains 855 ft (261 m) in the first 0.94 mi (1.5km). However,
the climb is worth it for the views.
|Iron Gate to the Rio Mora|
A relatively flat trail with excellent views of the Valle del Rio
Mora. In the fall, excellent colors await you.
|Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon|
This hike gives you a chance to see the unique geologic formation
known as tent rocks. If you do this hike, you also go through a
slot canyon and up onto the mesa, leading to great views of the
Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains.
|La Ventana Arch|
A short, easy hike to New Mexico's second-largest natural arch. If
you are in the area, make the short stop needed to see the arch.
A short trail which leads you past some amazing lava formations. If
you are in the area, you really should take this trail.
|Little Bear Canyon from TJ Corral|
A hike through piñon-juniper along a ridge with great views,
and then through a dramatic slot canyon to the Gila River. A great day
hike in the Gila Wilderness.
|Mesa Point Trail at Boca Negra Canyon in the Petroglyph National Monument|
The Mesa Point Trail in Boca Negra Canyon is a nice trail near Albuquerque.
You can view 1000 year-old petroglyphs, as well as get nice views of the
city and the Sandia and Manzano Mountains.
|Narrows Rim Trail|
This hike gives you a very different view of the lava flows that make up
El Malpais than most hikes---you are 500 ft above them and looking down.
You also get a great view of La Ventana Arch.
Hike this hike for the views. You will not be sorry.
|Old Guano Road |
This hike goes from White's City to the visitor's center at Carlsbad
Caverns National Park. When you hike this trail, you can see much of
the native plants (blooming if you hike it in the spring and the rains
have been favorable). You also get good views of the gypsum plains below
and the Guadalupe Mountains stretching off into Texas.
|Peñasco Blanco and Supernova Pictograph Trail |
This trail is one of the more famous trails at Chaco Canyon. It goes
past a pictograph which may represent the 1054 Supernova that created
the Crab Nebula
that we see today. Besides the famous pictograph, the
trail also takes you past petroglyphs, some of which are the inspiration
for some of the park signs.
This trail also goes to Peñasco Blanco, which is one of the
outlying ruins in the park.
|Piedra Lisa Trail|
This trail in the northwest portion of the Sandias takes you to places
with excellent views of the Sandias and the Jemez. When we hiked, the
view of the snow on the mountains against the deep blue sky was
spectacular. When snow is not an issue, this is an excellent winter
hike, although if done early it would be good in the summer as well.
This trail requires a car at both ends (or hike there and back).
|Pino Trail 140 to Crest Trail 130|
A nice hike with a moderate elevation gain (2760 ft/842 m) up the
west side of the Sandias from the Elena Gallegos picnic area. Much
of this hike is in the shade, making it a good summer hike.
To make a hike without retracing your way back, you could arrange
a car on the other side and go down the east side on the
Cienega canyon trail.
|Powerline Mesa and Ancho Rapids view|
An easy hike near Los Alamos that ends with a nice view of the Rio
Grande. On this hike, you get nice views of the Sangre de Cristo
mountains, Jemez Mountains and the Rio Grande.
|Pueblo Alto Loop |
This hike is probably the best hike in Chaco Culture National
Historic Park. On it, you go past three different sets of ruins
(Kin Kletso, Pueblo Alto and New Alto), and you get wonderful views
of Kin Kletso, Casa Rinconada, Pueblo del Arroyo, Pueblo Bonito,
and Chetro Ketl from the cliff above. You can also see up and down
Chaco Wash, and have good views of other parts of the San Juan Basin
On this hike are interesting rock formations, including iron-rich
fossil worm castings and slot canyons. Plus, you get to see the
Jackson Staircase, which is a staircase carved into the cliff wall. You
also twice see segments of the famous Chacoan roads. If you only do one
hike at Chaco Canyon, do this one.
|Purgatory Chasm Loop |
This trail is a short loop in the Gila Wilderness. Expecially notable
is the narrow canyon that part of the trail runs through.
If you hike this trail, you will encounter a pleasant canyon that can
take you all the way to Hillsboro Peak or other places in the Aldo
One of our favorite hikes in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, this hike is
notable for great canyon scenery, a variety of cacti and other desert
plants, and some history.
|Red Canyon/Spruce Spring loop|
A great day hike that goes through several biological zones in the
This forest that this hike goes through was damaged by the Ojo Peak fire in 2007.
|Rim Vista trail|
At the top of this trail, you are on the rim of the Valle del Rio Chama.
You get amazing views of the valley, the Ghost Ranch area with its
colorful geologic formations, Abiquiu Lake, the Jemez, and the Sangre de
Cristo mountains. When it comes to views, this trail is probably one of
the best in the state, and this is really saying something.
|Rinconada Canyon in the Petroglyph National Monument|
|San Lorenzo Canyon Recreation Area |
This hike is a less-structured hike than many we write about. However,
a repeated note we took when hiking summarizes one of the reasons to hike:
interesting geology. Arches, shelter caves, a slot canyon, interesting
inclusions of agate(?), and interesting rock formations are some of the
geological features that you can find on this hike.
The other note that shows up often is the contrasts of this area. The
cottonwoods, which indicate a reliable water source contrast with the
cactus that can easily survive without one. Something interesting is
around every corner.
|Sulphur Canyon, Faulty Trail, and Bill Spring loop|
This easy hike near Albuquerque is a good one for seeing wildflowers, as
well as the occasional squirrel or other wildlife.
|Three Rivers Petroglyphs |
The Three Rivers petroglyph site contains one of the most numerous
collections of petroglyphs in the nation. Of the various petroglyph
sites in New Mexico we have visited, this site has by far the most.
BLM says that there are over 21,000, and many are in excellent
In addition to the petroglyphs, you also get great views of Sierra
Blanca and the Tularosa basin.
|Thunder Egg Trail|
An easy loop trail at Rockhound State Park. On this trail, you get nice
views of the campground, and off to the southwest through northwest,
including nice views of the Big Florida mountains. Many people
use this trail as a starting place for their rock collecting. This
trail also has many interesting forms of cacti and other desert
|Tree Spring Loop|
A longer loop in the Sandia Mountains that takes you through several
vegetative zones. The variety of vegetation, including wildflowers in
the spring, makes this hike worthwhile. Add to it the views from the
Crest Trail, and the result is an excellent all-day hike.
|Tres Pistolas (Three Gun) Spring to the Embudo Trail|
The Tres Pistolas trail is an excellent winter trail, because it faces
south---snow melts quickly from it. You can get a good workout by doing
the trail quickly (as some runners do), or you can take it more slowly,
looking at the views south and the plant and animal life.
If you set up a car at each end, you can hike down the Embudo trail.
A longer hike at Chaco that takes you to an outlying site and then
and through a canyon with interesting geology. This hike sees fewer
people than many of the other hikes at Chaco Culture NHP.
|Tunnel Spring Loop|
Hike this hike for the views of Cabezon and the Jemez and San Pedro
mountains. If you hike in the summer, you will also be rewarded with
many varied cactus blooms.
A flat hike that goes past two small archaeological sites and ends up
with great views of the canyon and Tyuonyi. If you are camping, take
this hike at sunrise or sunset.
Copyright © 1997-2009 Kenneth Ingham Consulting, LLC.