There are so many reasons why New Mexico is the Land of the Enchantment. It also features the world’s six out of seven life areas. Plus, it offers elevations that may reach up to 13,161 feet. It is a state that boasts the combination of the geographical diversity.
There are sand dunes and blue-hued alpine lakes. But, that’s not all! There are so many things you have to visit in New Mexico. One of the most efficient ways to see experience the state, unlike any other is to hike on its trails.
Following are the best hikes in New Mexico. Some may be longer than the others while others are for overnight tours.
Top 10 Hiking Trails in New Mexico
Here are some of the best trekking trails in the state:
10. Zuni-Acoma Trail
The 16-mile trail will take you to an ancient pathway in El Malpais National Monument. It has a landscape of black lava fields, stunted trees, and arched caves, linking the Acoma pueblos and Zuni. You have to get over the lava bridges.
Although the roads are flat, the hike is quite long. In fact, you can complete the trip in two days.
9. Gila Loop Trail
The Gila National Forest is one of the biggest sections without paths in the U.S. The 3.3 million-acre land has mountains, forests, and wilderness area.
The 20-mile trail will take you to the ruins of swarms of the Aspen trees, cave dwellings, and a volcanic mesa. For pro hikers, they can reach the site for just a day. However, you can still complete the two-day hike to enjoy nature.
8. Pino Trail
For a classic desert trek, you may want to consider going to the Pino Trail. You can find it on the tip of the Albuquerque city. Located in the Sandia Mountains in Cibola National Forest, the trek begins with dry extensions.
Then, you have to go up the southern side of the Pino Canyon for around 4.5 miles. That’s when you’ll reach the crest with an elevation of 2,828 feet. The hike will take you to a lot of trees in the area.
But, you need to remember that you need to bring plenty of water because there are no sources of drinking water on the trail.
7. Pine Tree Trail
The Pine Tree Trail, which is close to the Las Cruces, is just a short trek. However, it can offer you an incredible view of the Organ Mountains. The hike will lead you to a beautiful fall.
You can appreciate the trail as the leaves change to oranges, yellows, and reds. If you want to spend a night in the area, there are camping areas found at the summit.
6. McCauley Hot Springs
For a short hike, it will bring you to hot springs and waterfalls. The McCauley Hot Springs Trail is a trek you should not miss. There is a lot oh hot springs in the site. All of them have around 92 degrees Fahrenheit water, which is ideal for soaking.
If you start out at the East Fork, you may trek past the Jemez Falls to the springs before heading back to your car.
5. Trampas Lakes Trail
For an alpine trek of your dreams, you need to go through the snowy peaks, mountain goats, and elevated lakes to go to Trampas Lakes. When you see the sign for the trail, you have to continue for around one mile to the right.
Then, you can find the Hidden Lake. The incline may be steep, but it is short. Rest assured, you have to prepare yourself for a strenuous hike.
4. Bandelier National Monument
The Bandelier National Monument has more than a 70-mile trail. You can weave through around a 30,000-acre Mesa country and canyon in north central New Mexico. It offers the ancient ruins that go back to the Ancestral Puebloan period.
The backcountry showcases longer, yet more isolated trekking trails. But, you also have to explore the first country to find the ancient petroglyphs, ruins, and kivas.
3. Winsor Trail
You can complete the 10.1-mile hike in just a day. But, it is a challenging trek with incredible views. The trail increases around 3,500 feet and the elevation have snow remains on the path.
So, you need to pack your essentials for snow hiking. Also, you can take pleasure in the scenic forest views and the Lake Katherine.
2. Alkali Flat Trail
The Alkali Flat Trail has a signed road that will take you to the sand dunes and the backcountry of the White Sands National Monument. It has trail posts, and the pathways extend across a lake in the Ice Age.
But now, it is full of sand dunes with gypsum. The road is short, but you can spend overnight at the monument to witness the sunrise.
1. Wheeler Peak
You need to have a two-day hike to complete the 19-mile trail. The path is not long, but the road is challenging to take. The elevation is quite steep at more than 3,000 feet.
You need to climb the 13,00 feet of peaks and take pleasure in the views of the pine trees and aspen in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. Make sure that you stop over the Horseshoe Lake with a high elevation of water.
What to Prepare Before Your Hike
Here’s what you need to do before you trek:
#1 Put On Comfortable Shoes and Socks
Then, make sure that you put on a pair of socks that offer enough ventilation if you are taking a longer trek.
#2 Pack GORP or Good Old Raisins and Peanuts
GORP doesn’t mean you have to pack just peanuts and raisins. You can also choose to bring some almonds, cherries, walnuts, M&Ms, peanut butter chips, and cranberries. Anything that lasts long and is bite-sized can be ideal for food sources.
#3 Tell Somebody When and Where You are Hiking
You need to tell a close friend or a family member to check you out in your expected completion of the trek. Then, in the case of emergencies, the person will call the authority and search and rescue team to find you.
#4 Ensure That You are Well-Conditioned for the Long Trek
If you are trying to complete a 9-mile trip, then you may consider practicing for a 5-mile hike a week before your adventure. Also, you need to bring the similar hiking essentials for the 9-mile trek.
It will allow you to have some time to adapt to the environment, the bag, and balance out weight-distribution issues in your backpack. Plus, it will help you get more inclined with your strap adjustment.
#5 Select The Right Hiking Trail
Consider choosing hiking paths with natural landscapes and views. Also, consider its availability and accessibility. Then, you should base the length of your hike on your ability and personal experiences.
Moreover, you need to consider the roads in the area. The mountains and hills add sight to the trek, but they may add challenge to it.
New Mexico is nothing like any other trails in the U.S. Although a lot of its trails are quite short, they may be difficult. So, you may choose from a weekend trip to a few days of the hike to enjoy the whole view.
For others who are just looking for a nature fix, you may just complete a one-day trek. With the list mentioned above, you can take pleasure in the best hiking trails in New Mexico. So, you can now hit the road and enjoy your hikes!