This Just Might Be The Most Beautiful Hike In All Of New Mexico
Spectacular scenery is abundant in New Mexico, so determining which hike is the most beautiful feels about as challenging as scaling Wheeler Peak in bare feet! However, there is one trail that takes hikers through scenery so dramatic that it inspired the work of artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. In fact, the Chimney Rock Trail starts at Ghost Ranch, where O’Keeffe lived.
Ghost Ranch is situated about 15 miles northwest of Abiquiu. The rock formations and color of the earth in this area are astounding. See for yourself…
The Chimney Rock trail is roughly three miles long, round trip. This is a moderate route that climbs from 6,500 to 7,100 feet to this rock formation.
Although the path is well maintained, it’s a good idea to wear proper hiking shoes. The route is exposed so be sure to bring plenty of water – and a hat in summer. Near the top, the terrain becomes rocky. Some people like to bring hiking sticks for this section.
You can also do this trail in winter.
The contrast between the snow and the vibrant rocks is dramatic, making the experience even more rewarding. But, during bad weather, the trail can become muddy and a bit slippery.
The trailhead is behind the Ghost Ranch museums. Cross the arroyo to begin the hike.
Ascending to Chimney Rock is the hardest part because it’s entirely uphill. But the views on the way up are gorgeous.
And, at the top, the vistas of the Piedra Lumbre basin are unparalleled.
You can see for miles, from Abiquiu Lake to Pedernal, a mesa that O’Keeffe painted often.
It’s also where her ashes were spread. (Pedernal is the flat-topped rock you can spy in the distance.)
People don’t always realize that you can gain admission to Ghost Ranch just to hike. You need to check in and out at the welcome center and pay a $5 fee. Then you’re free to explore the wonders of this land.
Have you taken this trail? What do you think is the most beautiful hike in New Mexico? If you’d like some recommendations for other great, short hikes, click
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