A trip to Cerrillos Hills State Park could satisfy several interests for some hikers. A drive along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway will take you through some of New Mexico’s ?nest scenery, a few ghost towns, and even a couple of artist destinations. If the drive isn’t satisfying enough, the 4.8-mile hike will take you through several rolling volcanic hills that were once successfully mined for silver, iron, and lead.
The rolling hills that the trails cross over are relics of the volcanoes that were active in the area nearly 30 million years ago. Iron, lead, and silver were deposited here during that time. Millions of years later, Native American and Spanish explorers and settlers would come here to mine those minerals and turquoise from the area, which experienced a brief mining boom in the 1880s. However, it was largely disappointing because very few people actually made money.
"Located approximately 16 miles south of Santa Fe, this hike is but one option among many interconnecting trails in a historic mining area (with over 1,100 years of mining history). The park has abandoned mines, one after another, in dry piñon and juniper hills. There are still three operating turquoise mines in the Cerrillos Hills outside the park. The landscape is quiet and offers wonderful views of surrounding mountains ranges. The trails are well maintained and clearly marked.
Yield to horseback riders by stepping off the trail on the downhill side and making sure you are visible. Rock collecting and metal detecting are not allowed. This is rattlesnake country. Be sure to be aware and watch where you put your hands and feet." Read more
"The oldest recorded mining operations in the Southwest were located at the nondescript mound of Mount Chalchihuitl in the Cerrillos Hills. At least 1,500 years ago, Ancestral Pueblo people used sharp sticks and shaped rocks to extract turquoise from the volcanic outcrops on the low mountain.
Spanish colonizers at Santa Fe mined the colorful rock in the seventeenth century. In the 1880s, silver and zinc ores brought a new wave of miners to foothills above the Rio Galesteo." Read more
"Cerrillos Hills State Park is divided into two distinct areas. In the northwest corner, an unmarked network of canyons, closed dirt roads, and horse trails create several possibilities for extensive wandering between Waldo Canyon Road and Grand Central Mountain. The map and exploratory routes section that follow focus on navigating that area. In the heart of it, trails are well marked and stocked with enough interpretive signage for a dissertation on local history and geology." Read more
"A trip to Cerrillos Hills State Park could satisfy several interests for some riders. A drive along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway will take you through some of New Mexico’s finest scenery, a few ghost towns, and even a couple of artist destinations. If the drive isn’t satisfying enough, the 4.8-mile ride will take you through several rolling volcanic hills that were once successful mines for silver, iron, and lead. By linking together several of the trails in Cerrillos Hills State Park, riders can enjoy a 4.8-mile loop and discover much of what this park has to offer. The rolling hills crossed by the trails are relics of the volcanoes that were active here nearly 30 million years ago. Iron, lead, and silver were deposited here during that time. Millions of years later, Native American and Spanish explorers and settlers came here to mine those minerals as well as turquoise. The area experienced a brief and largely disappointing mining boom in the 1880s." Read more
"A hike through rolling desert terrain through a historic mining area. Lying at lower elevations than many of the hikes, this area is enjoyable year-round. Numerous mine shafts, workings, and other remnants of the mining period are found along the trails. From the trailhead, cross the road to the east and start up the Jane Calvin Sanchez Trail, which swings north around a ridge, then follows a drainage up to the first of several old mines. After passing a second old mine, you’ll reach a third mine at a trail junction; turn left here to stay on the Jane Calvin Sanchez Trail. The trail descends back to the main road, Camino Turquesa at Mineral Spring. Turn left onto the main road, walk a few yards, and pick up the Escalante Trail on the west side of the road. This trail climbs west, and then turns north." Read more