Some New Mexicans like nothing better than waking up early on a weekend and hitting the trails for lengthy day hikes. That’s great – kudos if you’re one of those people. But others are just looking to squeeze a nature fix or workout into their day between errands or before a Netflix marathon. That’s why we’ve put together this list of short hikes in New Mexico. You’ll get plenty of cardio without a serious time commitment on these 12 trails.
1. Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Tularosa, 1 mile round trip
This hike starts at the visitor center. There are 21,000 petroglyphs throughout this park, many of which are concentrated next to this trail. It's so absorbing that this walk feels more like an adventure into the past than a workout. (No pets allowed.)
2. Tunnel Canyon Trail, Tijeras, 4.20 miles
Although this trail is just a short distance from Albuquerque, this hike allows you to feel as if you're far away from it all. Immerse yourself in nature while enjoying views that stretch for miles.
3. Coyote Call Trail, Valles Caldera National Preserve, 2.9 miles
During this hike, you can admire a caldera that was created after a supervolcano erupted in the Jemez Mountains, roughly 1.2 million years ago. The trail meanders through meadows and forests. Added bonus: you can often spot wildlife such as elk or birds of prey in this area.
4. Thunder Egg Trail, Rockhound State Park, 0.78 miles
This loop trail provides a short but sweet walk through Rockhound State Park. You can combine it with the Jasper Trail (0.64 miles) to extend your hike.
5. Williams Lake Trail, Taos, 3.82 miles
Located in Taos Ski Valley, this trail showcases some of New Mexico's best scenery. The steeper portions of the path along with the altitude - Williams Lake sits at 11,040 feet - also offer a good workout. Admittedly, this trail is well-trafficked, but for a good reason.
6. Fort Bayard Big Juniper Tree Trail, Fort Bayard, 5 miles
This trail comes in right at 5 miles, but we’ve included it because it passes by the country’s second largest alligator Juniper Tree.
7. Bosque Loop Trail 0.55 miles and River Loop Trail 0.64 miles, Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
These two trails form a creative figure eight. When combined, they make for an easy and relaxing hike. Part of the trail runs along the banks of the Rio Grande and the plentiful waterfowl make these trails as entertaining as they are pretty. (Pets are not allowed on the trails.)
8. Crater Rim Trail, Capulin Volcano National Monument, 1 mile
This paved loop trail circles the rim of volcano. Now that’s unique! The sweeping views you see from this path extend for miles. This route provides more of a workout than you'd expect due to the elevation changes. (This isn't a pet-friendly trail.)
9. Upper Falls Trail, Bandelier National Monument, 3 miles round trip
In 2011, major flooding damaged the trail to Frijoles Falls. The current route is shorter, but this remains an incredible hike, which provides great views of the falls. (Pets are not permitted in Bandelier National Monument.)
10. Black Canyon Trail, Santa Fe National Forest, 1.5 miles
High above Santa Fe, this trail circles through the woods. At times it gets busy but its proximity to the city and the abundant wildflowers make it a pleasant escape. (Since you can only reach the trailhead by walking to the attached campground, the actual mileage is a little longer.)
11. Luchini Trail, Elephant Butte State Park, 1.5 miles
For a soothing stroll along a trail that weaves through sand dunes, try the Luchini Trail. Afterwards, cool off in the reservoir.
12. Cerrillos Hills State Park, Cerrillos, under 5 miles
Since this park contains 5 miles of trails, any hike there should clock in at less than that. Hike while learning about New Mexico's mining history at this unique state park, located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.