New Mexico November 03, 2016
8 Easy Hikes To Add To Your Outdoor Bucket List In New Mexico
One of the best things about New Mexico is that you don’t have to go far or be an experienced hiker to find yourself surrounded by natural beauty. If you’re a hiking novice or you just don’t want to devote a full day to hiking, check out these 8 easy trails in New Mexico:
1. Inscription Rock, El Morro National Monument, near Grants
Your journey to Inscription Rock will be much easier than it was for visitors in past centuries. This watering hole, nestled at the base of a sandstone bluff, has served as an oasis to Ancestral Puebloans, Spanish, and American travelers. More than 2000 people carved messages here, in the form of signatures, dates, and petroglyphs. The hike to this rock and pool is short (half a mile), easy, and paved.
2. Columbine Canyon Trail, Red River
The Columbine Trail starts at the Columbine Canyon Campground. Although this trail is a long one, you don't have to travel far along the route before encountering exceptional scenery. Wander through forests, back and forth across a stream, and eventually through meadows dotted with wildflowers. Just turn around whenever you get tired!
3. The trails at City of Rocks State Park, between Silver City and Deming
There are only five and a half miles of trails in the entire park so there’s a limit to how long a hike at City of Rocks can last. However, you can pack some impressive sights into a short distance at this state park just by weaving your way between the pinnacles of rock. Some of them stand up to 40 feet high!
4. Malpais Nature Trail, Valley of Fires Recreation Area, near Carrizozo
While you can also hike across a lava flow at El Malpais National Monument, at Valley of Fires Recreation Area you can do so without worrying about twisting an ankle. That’s because there’s a raised walkway over the lava.
is a handy guide to the nature trail, which is accessible, and roughly three quarters of a mile long. You need to bring your own water through the end of 2016, due to construction.
5. Chavez Canyon, near Abiquiu
This hike is roughly two miles out and back. The route takes you through an impressive red rock, slot canyon. To reach the trailhead, you need to turn off US-84 and drive along FR-151 towards the Monastery of Christ in the Desert until you reach the trailhead.
6. Ice Canyon, Dripping Springs Natural Area, near Las Cruces
This easy hike is three miles long, out and back. It takes you through Ice Canyon, past the ruins of the Van Patten Mountain Camp and Boyd’s Sanatorium, and by Dripping Springs. To reach the trailhead, drive to the Dripping Springs Natural Area then park at the A. B. Cox Visitor Center.
7. Gila Cliff Dwellings Trail, near Silver City
This hike takes you up to cliff dwellings dating back to the 13th century. It is a little steep in a couple of sections, but the trail is short – only about a mile each way. Although the cliff dwellings are technically near Silver City, the road in is winding and slow going so you'll want to start driving first thing.
For more info.
8. Trail at Quarai Mission Pueblo, near Mountainair
This one and a half mile long trail, which starts at the visitor’s center at Quarai, leads you through the remains of a mission church and Native American pueblo.
What’s your favorite short hike in New Mexico? For more hiking suggestions, read our past article on
trails under five miles in length.