New Mexico Hiking, Nature September 15, 2017
The Unforgettable New Mexico Hike That Leads To A Goblin Colony
Just when you think you have seen all the natural wonders in New Mexico, you find another. This hike in the Jemez Mountains leads to a cool colony of landforms described as goblins. While hiking in the Jemez is most always beautiful, this short, easy hike is perfect for an afternoon outside.
Can you spot the goblins?
Goblins, also called hoodoos and fairy chimneys, are spires of eroded rock that form eerie shapes. If you use your imagination, you can see gnarled goblin faces in the rock.
The flat surface and short distance make this hike a winner.
The Paliza Canyon hike to the goblin colony is a straightforward out-and-back four-mile hike. The hike can be done in a couple of hours, but plan on some extra time to explore the surrounding area.
Do watch your step.
While the hike to the colony is easy, scrambling around the goblins can be challenging. Also, don't attempt to climb the spires. They are fragile. Once damaged, they are ruined forever.
There is more to see than the hoodoos.
The area around the Paliza Canyon offers wide views of the surrounding Santa Fe National Forest. If you are good at navigation, wander a bit past the goblin colony to overlook Vallecito Creek. Don't forget to look closely at the rocks too! There is ancient rock art here but you really have to look to find it.
The area is rich with neat plants and animals.
A lot of animals make their home along the trail and among the rocks. Look for chipmunks, horned lizards toads, and snakes. Also, take note of how the junipers differ here. These "alligator" junipers have a rough, scaly bark. In the spring and summer, you'll find wildflowers too.
Explore pueblo ruins near the goblin site.
Ruins of Boletsakwa ("village of the abalone shell"), can be found further down the trail from the goblin colony. It is speculated that this great kiva site one had more than 650 rooms. Please remember that this area is special and should not be disturbed. This cultural site is protected by state and federal laws.
How to find the goblins
To reach the goblin colony, hike north on Forest Road 271, Paliza Canyon. The road is about .5 miles past the entrance to the Paliza Family Campground. The campground is off New Mexico 290/Forest Road 10.
Have you done this hike? How does the Paliza Goblin Colony compare to
Tent Rocks or the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these amazing landscape features.