Mountain Biking Northern New Mexico  by Bob D Antonio

Mountain Biking Northern New Mexico Guide Book

by Bob D Antonio (Falcon Guides)
Mountain Biking Northern New Mexico  by Bob D Antonio
The country around Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque truly is the Land of Enchantment, not only for the area's Spanish influence and surreal landscape, but also because it's home to some of the best mountain biking in the southwest. Technical challenges, rugged terrain, and fast descents are found on the old mining roads, jeep trails, and singletrack that crisscross the pinyon- and juniper-dotted landscape of the Rio Grande Valley or the spruce forests of the Sangre de Cristo and Sandia Mountains. You'll get the inside track on everything from the best time of year to ride, to local events and attractions, and even where to get a cold drink and a burger after a hard day in the saddle.

© 2004 Bob D Antonio/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Mountain Biking Northern New Mexico" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 45.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 45.

Located in the northern foothills 20 miles north of Albuquerque. This is a great little ride on mostly smooth doubletrack roads in the northern foothills near the small town of Placitas. There are excellent views to the Sandia Mountains and west to the Rio Grande Valley and beyond. The riding is quite pleasant, and the road makes a nice loop through stands of piñon and juniper trees. I like the ease of access from I–25 and that the trail stays free of snow for most of the winter. The trail borders the Sandia Wilderness Area and several trails shoot into (no bikes) this urban wilderness. You could easily turn this ride into a hike-a-bike by bringing some hiking shoes and a bike lock to secure your bike while hiking. I did this and followed the Piedra Lisa Trail at the 1.8-mile mark of the ride into the wilderness. It is about 4.5 miles to the Juan Tabo Picnic Area and 2.5 miles one way to Ricon Saddle. The trail dips in and out of two major valleys and offers great views and excellent hiking. Trail surface: Doubletrack and dirt roads.
Placitas, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.9
The trail follows along Rito Angostura up through the steep hills near the Sipapu Ski Area. Numerous trails shoot off from NM 518 along the Rio Pueblo and climb steeply to various peaks and forest roads. The trails usually follow small streams and narrow canyons on extremely rough terrain. The Angostura Trail follows the beautiful Rio Angostura up a narrow canyon, and the trail, surprising enough, is very doable for expert cyclists. Trail surface: Doubletrack and singletrack trails.
Penasco, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.6
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The path follows along Arroyo de los Chamisos, a major drainage system in the southeast part of town. The Arroyo de los Chamisos Trail is a nice little outing on a smooth paved surface that follows the arroyo of the same name south for 3.7 miles. This is a great ride for novice cyclists and for those who want to jump on the mountain bike during the winter months when most of the bike trails are snowed in. The trail is popular with walkers and runners and sees a lot of foot traffic during the weekend days. Trail surface: Paved path.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.4
A high-alpine ride up to the summit of Tesuque Peak (12,045 feet). This ride holds a special place in my heart. Back in the early 1970s my wife, Laurel, and I would spend numerous hours taking trips up Aspen Vista Road to hike, ski tour, and snowshoe. Aspen Vista Road (Forest Road 150) starts at an elevation of 10,000 feet and climbs up through a large stand of beautiful aspen and pine trees to the summit of Tesuque Peak at a elevation of 12,045 feet. This is not a ride for the faint of heart, legs, or lungs. Summer is a wonderful time to ride Aspen Vista Road, as various wildflowers grow profusely along the several small streams and open meadows. Mid- and late summer bring violent afternoon thunderstorms, and it’s best to plan to reach Tesuque Peak by noon. Fall, with the changing of the aspen trees, is an absolutely spectacular time to enjoy the foliage and stable weather. The views up to and once on Tesuque Peak are nothing short of spectacular and extend in all directions. Trail surface: Dirt road and doubletrack.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.1
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Extreme technical riding through the rocky, piñon-studded foothills to the summit of Atalaya Mountain (9,121 feet). Don’t even attempt this ride unless you are an expert cyclist with skills to handle extreme, rocky climbs and descents on narrow singletrack. The trail up to Atalaya Mountain gains a staggering 1,600 feet in 3 miles, and most of that comes in the final 2-mile grunt to the summit. The trail is extremely popular and can be quite crowded during weekends. There is the real danger of getting hurt on this ride, so use caution and don’t hesitate to walk the tougher sections of the trail. The trail is best ridden during the early-morning or late-afternoon hours when foot traffic is low.Avoid the ride during the peak midday hours to ensure a more pleasant experience for other trail users and yourself. Trail surface: The majority of the ride is on narrow singletrack. There is a short section of dirt roads through Ponderosa Estates.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6
Beautiful riding up the Rio de la Olla Canyon and along the stream of the same name. This is a wonderful ride up Rio de la Olla Canyon with the picturesque Rio de la Olla stream hugging the side of the trail for most of the ride. Wildflowers, tall stands of willows, small tarns, beaver ponds, and a beautiful small alpine lake are the highlights of this ride. Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack trail. This is a wonderful ride up Rio de la Olla Canyon with the picturesque Rio de la Olla stream hugging the side of the trail for most of the ride.Wildflowers, tall stands of willows, small tarns, beaver ponds, and a beautiful small alpine lake are the highlights of this ride. From the trailhead ride past the metal posts and through a few berms on a tight singletrack trail. After a short distance the trail becomes wider and skirts a rockfall that has blocked part of the trail. Past the slide area you arrive at a small, wooden bridge at the 0.7-mile mark.
Taos, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10
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Through the gentle rolling hills just northwest of Santa Fe on the Caja del Rio Plateau. The Caja del Rio Plateau is a wild, seldom-used area filled with remnants of many ancient volcanoes just east of White Rock Canyon high above the Rio Grande. The area was once the site of intense volcanic activity from almost two million years ago. Numerous volcanic cones dot the rugged landscape and are now covered with piñon and juniper trees and scattered basalt rocks. The plateau has a long history of human influence and use, and many petroglyphs can be found along the basalt cliffs lining White Rock Canyon. Once the site of two large land grants dating from the late 1600s, the land is now under management of the Forest Service with the primary uses of cattle grazing and woodcutting. The plateau is criss-crossed with many forest and woodcutting roads, giving access to many easy and intermediate mountain bike tours. The plateau lies at an elevation of 7,000 feet and can be ridden almost year-round, especially in years of light snowfall. The area should be avoided during times of heavy moisture, as the roads become impassable due to thick, heavy mud. Trail surface: Mostly doubletrack trails and dirt roads.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.3
Tight singletrack riding up a narrow, rocky canyon below Gallegos Peak. This ride is a true test of your technical riding skills. The riding is extreme for the most part and is quite demanding in several sections. You are going to push your bike up at the start of the ride, but after that the riding is hard but doable. From the parking area, you will pedal up the gravel road to a gate. Pedal through the gate and into a narrow canon. This section is the uphill crux of the ride, and it is extremely difficult to maintain any sort of rhythm. After pushing for a short bit, the riding becomes doable. You will cross a small stream and crank through a short rocky section up to level tread. Nice riding leads you into a small, beautiful meadow filled with tall aspen and pine trees. Crank up to a second spectacular meadow, which is covered with tall, white aspen trees.Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack trails.
Penasco, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.8
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The ride follows a dirt road up Capulin Canyon along the Rio Capulin. The ride then climbs through aspen and pine forests to Palo Encebado Peak on good tread with fantastic views out to Taos Canyon and Garcia Park. The first part of the ride is on a well-maintained forest road that takes an easy uphill grade through Capulin Canyon with the Rio Capulin on the right.At the 1.8-mile mark the road forks and the ride climbs up and into beautiful forests of aspen and pine.This is where you really feel like you are high in the mountains. You are surrounded by steep forest slopes and small, clear mountain streams. At the 3.5-mile mark the road opens up into a flat area. Look left for the start of Forest Road 494 and the upper-loop portion of the ride. Here’s where the real fun begins.
Taos, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 11.1
This ride is on mostly flat, piñon-, sage-, and juniper-covered mesa high above the Rio Grande. This ride is a great ride to take the family and enjoy some nice flat, dirt road riding with beautiful views through a high piñon- and juniper-covered mesa on the fringe of the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge. There are a number of roads that lead south into Garrapata Ridge, where you could easily extend your mileage for a longer ride. Trail surface: Dirt road and doubletrack trails.
Questa, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.6
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Located east of Albuquerque near the quaint town of Tijeras. I could rave all daylong about the singletrack riding in the Tijeras area. There are long, winding, tight singletrack through the juniper and piñon trees; short technical sections through limestone rocks and staircases; fast downhills on buffed-out singletrack; and views that will take your breath away. This is what you can expect when you ride in the Tijeras area, and the Cedro Peak Loop delivers that and then some. Enjoy, this is a great ride! Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack trail and a short section of dirt roads.
Tijeras, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 9.7
Great riding in the foothills just north of downtown Santa Fe. This is a wonderful ride that takes in the best sections of three different trails to make a great loop through tall pine trees to open, flower-filled meadows along the Tesuque Creek drainage. It’s a popular ride that sees a lot of foot and mountain bike traffic. You can avoid the crowds by riding during the weekdays. The loop makes for a great night ride during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. The ride starts on the ever popular Chamisa Trail and enters into a narrow canyon surrounded by tall pine trees. Trail surface: Paved road, doubletrack and singletrack trails.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.6
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Located east of Albuquerque near the quaint town of Tijeras. For my money the area around Tijeras has some of the best singletrack riding to be found in the state of New Mexico, if not the whole Southwest. The Coyote and Chamisoso Trails are at the top of my list for pure singletrack fun. Expect tight singletrack, awesome downhills, technical rocky sections, and beautiful scenery through the piñon-studded hills. Do this ride! Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack trails.
Tijeras, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 9.9
The trail follows the Rio Grande north and south and starts near the village of Alameda. This is a beautiful ride along the Rio Grande through a “bosque,” a cottonwood-covered river bottom filled with water-loving plants and animals. The trail winds through partially wooded areas to open sand flats alongside the Rio Grande and is a wet oasis surrounded by dry desert. Along with stately cottonwood trees, the wet areas along the river are filled with willows, box elders, various shrubs, tall prairie grasses, and beautiful wildflowers during the late spring and early summer months. There are great views east to the Sandia Mountains and west to the high mesas surrounding Albuquerque.The riding is quite pleasant and never really technical, and it should be taken at a leisurely pace so as to enjoy the peaceful surroundings that the bosque offers. This is also a great ride in the winter and offers a great opportunity to get out in the middle of winter and put some miles on those winter legs. Trail surface: singletrack and doubletrack trail and short section of dirt roads.
Alameda, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 14.4
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Through the rolling piñon and juniper-covered foothills just north of Santa Fe. The Dale Ball Trails Central are a collection of connecting singletrack trails which cut through the piñon-covered hills, cross through several arroyos, and offer a great mountain bike outing just minutes from downtown Santa Fe. The trails are well marked and well maintained and marked with signs at every trail junction. Most of the riding is on tight singletrack with a few sections of wide doubletrack and dirt roads. This is one of the best trail systems close to Santa Fe for mountain biking. The trails are popular with hikers, runners, and other cyclists, so maintain a safe speed and yield to the uphill hiker and cyclist. Trail surface: Mostly singletrack trails with a short section of dirt road.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.3
Through the rolling piñon and juniper-covered foothills just north of Santa Fe. This short little ride is on a new trail system located just north of town off NM 475. Numerous private individuals and public organizations are responsible for the creation of these fine trails. The Dale Ball Trails are multi-use trails designed for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Numerous man-hours, lots of planning, and a lot of hard work went into the development of these fine multiuse trails. During the summer months the temperature can soar during midday, so try riding in early morning or late afternoon. Trail surface: Singletrack trails.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.7
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Tight singletrack riding up Devisadaro Peak in the piñon-covered foothills just east of downtown Taos. This ride is a true test of your technical riding skills. The riding is never easy! The uphill sections are quite grueling and will truly test the skills of most riders. The downhill sections are rocky, technical, and dangerous. With all that said, this is a short, rewarding ride for expert cyclists looking for a technical test piece. Once you reach the top of Devisadaro Peak, relax on the cool man-made rock chairs. I can only guess that these stone chairs have been built over the years by various hikers and cyclists, each adding his or her stone to the ongoing project. The views out to Taos Valley and Taos Mountain are just spectacular and well worth the grunt up the steep slopes to the chairs. Trail surface: Singletrack trails.
Taos, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.4
Singletrack and doubletrack riding up through the forested hills and meadows to Apache Pass. Elliot Barker, forest ranger, state game warden, conservationist, lover of wilderness, and one of New Mexico’s biggest advocates of wild places, was born in 1886 and moved to New Mexico at the age of three, arriving in a covered wagon with his family from Texas. They settled near Pecos and thus began his love of northern New Mexico wild places. Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack trails.
Taos, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.5
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Located northeast of Albuquerque near the quaint town of Cedar Crest. This is one of the harder trails in the Albuquerque area and should be attempted by strong intermediate and expert cyclists only. Those lacking the skills are really not going to have a pleasant time and would be better off just hiking the trail. Sections of steep rocky uphills, technical stream crossings, and extended sections of technical riding make this a course for cyclists with strong legs, lungs, and skills. Trail surface: Singletrack trails and paved roads.
Cedar Crest, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.9
Through the gentle rolling hills just west of Santa Fe on the Caja del Rio Plateau. FR 24 is a long, winding horseshoe-shaped road that makes for an excellent beginner’s ride through Caja del Rio Plateau. FR 24 extends the whole length of the plateau and ends close to La Bajada Hill, in the southern part of the plateau. The road is fairly smooth for much of the distance and offers no technical obstacles except for a few cattle-guard crossings. This is a great ride for the novice cyclists to work on learning how to shift gears and put in some miles on the dirt. This is a beautiful area and extremely accessible from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Trail surface: Mostly doubletrack trails and dirt roads.
Santa Fe, NM - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.2
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