Hiking in New Mexico

Cimarron River in Northern New MexicoNew Mexico is loaded with amazing state and national parks, monuments, trails and scenic byways - all of which are great for hiking. The vast area of New Mexico is almost overwhelming when you are trying to decide where to hike. Follow these helpful tips to decide where to hike in New Mexico. (Picture: Cimarron River in Northern New Mexico)


Picking the right place to hike.

This decision depends on your personal preferences. New Mexico has something for everyone, ranging from native heritage trails, wild river backcountry byways, old military memorials, caverns, lakes, deserts, mountains and national forests. You can search New Mexico's official guide of tourist locations at NewMexico.org to find an area that matches your wants and needs. Beginners and families hiking with children should consider the more well-kept trails that can be found on the byways and the national forests. Advanced hikers can tackle the challenging hikes of the caverns, lakes, deserts and mountains. If you are a history buff, the native heritage trails and old military memorials will excite.


Choose the right time of year.

Certain locations and hiking trails are best in specific seasons. For example, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a great summertime destination because it maintains an average temperature of 56 degrees F. In the winter months, a number of desert trails are available that remain warm for most of the year. These trails are typically located in the Southeast section of the state.


Get the right gear.

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works in Santa Fe is a good option for buying hiking gear because their staff is familiar with the terrain of the popular hiking spots throughout New Mexico. The shop, which is located at 328 South Guadalupe Street, is open seven days a week and can be reached at (505) 984-8221. They offer equipment for hiking, camping, fishing and other outdoor activities. If you aren't in the Santa Fe area, you can order from their online shop.


Consider getting a hiking guide.

Professional guides often know the best paths and the most scenic routes. Hiking with a guide is also a way to ensure a level of safety while out in the wilderness. The New Mexico Hiker is a 6-day hiking tour that starts in Santa Fe and moves through the Pecos Wilderness around Santa Fe to the Ghost Ranch in Bandelier. At that point, the tour travels to Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Taos and then back to Santa Fe. For about $2,000, you get 6 days of meals and accommodations plus vehicle transportation and park licenses.

Check out the many amazing sights that can be seen in New Mexico including historical monuments, ancient forests and beautiful canyons. The Aztec Ruins National Monument has attained many accolades over the years, as has the Santa Fe National Forest and Cimarron Canyon. Bring your camera and take plenty of pictures. If you the opportunity, be sure to visit the many old mining, railroading and ranching towns, including Red River and Angel Fire.


Article Written By Kori Ellis

K. Ellis has traveled extensively throughout the United States. She has spent considerable time hiking, camping and fishing throughout New Mexico, Arizona, California and several other states. From rugged hikes down the Grand Canyon to scenic strolls through the Jemez Mountains, she has experienced it all.

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