Chama River Canyon Wilderness Area Trails

Abiquiu, New Mexico 87510

Chama River Canyon Wilderness Area Trails

Chama River Canyon Wilderness Area Trails Professional Review and Guide

"This wilderness owes its existence, physically and officially, to the Rio Chama, second only to the Rio Grande as north-central New Mexico’s most important river. Like the Rio Grande, the Chama rises in Colorado and runs south. It goes through the village of Chama, past Abiquiu, to join the Rio Grande just north of Española. In 1598, at a Tewa Indian pueblo near this confluence, Spanish colonizer Don Juan de Oñate established the first European capital in what is now the United States. (The Spanish capital moved to Santa Fe in 1609.) The name “Chama,” from the Tewa language, refers either to a pueblo that existed north of the present village of Abiquiu, or, more likely, is a corruption of the Tewa word tzama, “red,” the color of the river as it carries silt from the reddish rocks and soil of northern New Mexico.

This wilderness centers on the river, and consequently hiking is rather limited with only one marked trail, the Ojitos Trail. If you are willing to walk cross-country or along roads, however, the endeavor is well worthwhile. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail coincides with the Ojitos Trail and Forest Road 151."

Chama River Canyon Wilderness Area Trails Reviews

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There are several places to hike in the area but there's really only one trail that's maintained and mark, the Ojitos Trail. I love this whole area and it shows off the beauty of the American Southwest. Lots of views of colorful mountains and cliffs, wildflowers in the spring, and the Rio Chama. You can often see people rafting and canoeing on the river and horseback riding in the area.

Chama River Canyon Wilderness Area Trails Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Spring, summer, fall
6,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
8,600 feet
Top Elevation
Additional Use
Santa Fe National Forest, Carson National Forest, BLM Taos Resource Area
Local Contacts
Laguna Peak, Echo Amphitheater, Navajo Peak, Llaves, French Mesa, Youngsville, and Arroyo del Agua USGS 7.5-minute quadrangles; Abiquiu 1:100K USGS quadrangle
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018