Zuni-Acoma Trail

Grants, New Mexico 87020

Zuni-Acoma Trail

Zuni-Acoma Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Zuni-Acoma Trail spans overlapping lava flows from five volcanoes, following an ancient route that connects the two pueblos. Now part of the official route of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), much of the route lies on solid, uneven rock, and the trail twists constantly as it traverses lava ridges and bridges. Make no mistake: despite the relatively short distance, it is a tiring journey. Allow 5 or 6 hours to complete the hike, and take plenty of water and sunscreen.

To walk the entire trail requires setting up a long car shuttle, but it’s worth the extra effort. First, head south on NM 117, which is located at exit 89 off I-40, about 65 miles west of Albuquerque and 5 miles east of Grants. A little more than 15 miles from the interstate on NM 117, park in the marked lot along the highway."

More Zuni-Acoma Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Laurence Parent
View more trails from this guide book
"This is a long day hike or overnight trip across the rugged lava flows at El Malpais National Monument. The trail is part of an old Indian trail that connected the villages of Zuni and Acoma. It crosses five different lava flows, the most recent Zuni-Acoma Trail being only 2,000 years old. Be sure to wear sturdy boots, since most of the trail surface consists of rough lava. Because the trail often lies on bare rock, it can be relatively faint. Rock cairns, some hundreds of years old, mark the route. Traveling from west to east, the trail loses a small amount of elevation, but has a considerable number of small ups and downs as it crosses the lava flows." Read more

Zuni-Acoma Trail Reviews

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The guide description is spot on! El Malpais is Spanish for “the badlands” and there could never be a more appropriate term for the terrain here. Expect some very jagged and sharp edges on the lava beds – there’s no flat surface to walk on except for the occasional sand intervals between the beds. The rock cairns are plentiful and you need to pay close attention to the route that they take you on…that route will be the best pathway to take you through this obstacle course even though some climbing may be involved. But you also need to pay heed to the lava at your feet. There are some deep fissures in much of the bed. Hiking boots are essential with the highly irregular surface. I found that the lava bed surface to be much like jagged blacktop and not at all slippery like slickrock. But the lava bed is razor blade sharp and a fall would probably result in serious injury. There’s a strange kind of beauty in the desolation here. This trail is part of the 3100 mile Continental Divide Trail that roughly follows the actual Continental Divide between Mexico and Canada and if you’re lucky (like I was) you might encounter a backpacker making the journey.
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Zuni-Acoma Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
March through November
Additional Use
USGS Arrosa Ranch and Los Pilares
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018