It’s the new year, and that means it’s time to start planning so that you can fit every activity in your schedule before 2019 is up. Hiking in New Mexico is one of the most beautiful activities you can partake in, and if your resolution was to get outdoors more, we have the perfect solution. These various hikes correspond with the time of year, offering the perfect time to visit each trail. After you hike these 12 trails, you’ll have seen the best of New Mexico’s nature and wild beauty.
1. January - Williams Lake Trail - Taos Ski Valley
This waterfall hike is absolutely breathtaking in winter as it’s covered in sparkling snow, and the lake is an icy blue. This out-and-back trail near Taos Ski Valley in the Carson National Forest isn't as difficult as the nearby Wheeler Peak, but at 3.7-miles, it's not too easy either. This waterfall hike is surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery in New Mexico, and it’s the perfect way to start the year.
2. February - Lava Falls Trail - Grants
Let’s jump into a bit more difficult hike right off the bat. This trail within the El Malpais National Monument might seem easy, but if you’re not careful, you could find yourself stuck in the cracks of old volcanoes. The one-mile trail is upon an old lava field and is full of cracks in the ground, some of which are even big enough to fall through.
3. March - Jemez Falls Trail - Santa Fe National Forest
After that last rush of a hike, let’s transition to something a bit more simple. This easy waterfall hike is perfect for the whole family. At just under 1-mile long, this hike won't take too much time, but there's so much to see. At the end, you’ll be able to see the beautiful waterfalls, and from there, you can climb down to the bottom of the falls, or wade in a small pool at the top.
4. April - Dragonfly Trail - Gila National Forest
Springtime is here! Just outside of Silver City, you’ll find a colorful 3.5-mile loop trail within the Gila National Forest. This moderate hike is full of colorful wildflowers to kick off springtime the right way. Hence the name, the beautiful flowers attract many dragonflies which offers a unique atmosphere.
5. May - Domingo Baca Trail #230 - Sandia Mountain Wilderness
Let’s get back in gear with a strenuous 8-mile hike, but don’t worry, it’ll be worth it. This unique hike through the Cibola National Forest within the Sandia Mountains will lead you to remnants of a plane crash from 1955. This historic crash site is upon a beautiful trail within the Sandia Mountain Wilderness, and coming across the plane wreckage will have you contemplating a New Mexico tragedy from decades ago. This hike is an experience unlike any other.
6. June - Nambe Falls Trails - Sangre de Cristo Mountains
At the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains inside the Pueblo of Nambe, you'll find the astounding Nambe Falls. Inside, there is a lower trail and upper trail to choose from, and both are only a quarter mile long. The upper trail offers expansive views on rocky terrain, while the lower trail has you wading through the small pools. No matter what you choose, the sight of the falls are amazing, especially in the summer.
7. July - Middle Fork Lake Trail - Red River
This 5-mile trail in an old forest in Red River is right in the middle with a moderate difficulty, but the payoff is anything but average. Once you reach the end of this moderate trek, you’ll find the most breathtaking lake, and you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Put your feet up and enjoy the beautiful New Mexico summer weather.
8. August - Main Loop Trail - Bandelier National Monument
This beautiful and mysterious cave trail inside the Bandelier National Monument is perfect for everyone at only 1.2-miles long. This leads you through ancient archeological sites featuring many small hand-made caves date back to over 100,000 years ago when hunter-gatherers migrated across the canyons and mesas.
9. September - Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Interpretive Trail - Santa Fe
Fall is upon us, and this easy fall hike is the perfect way to embrace one of the most beautiful seasons in New Mexico. On this 1.4-mile trail you'll also see remnants of history. You'll be walking within the old ruins of the Old Stone Dam that was built in 1881, and ruined by a flood in 1904. You can read about the history as you walk through one of Santa Fe’s oldest canyons while being surrounded by fall colors and wildlife.
10. October - Aspen Vista Trail - Santa Fe National Forest
As you’re hiking up to the top of a mountain within one of our most spectacular national forests, you can see a sea of aspen trees all illuminating their golden leaves. If you’re a lover of fall colors, this 11-mile hike of endless colors is perfect for you. There's truly no better way to see fall foliage in New Mexico than hiking this incredible out-and-back trail.
11. November - Interdune Boardwalk Trail - White Sands National Monument
The year would not be complete without a visit to the jaw dropping White Sands National Monument. In the summer, the White Sands can get uncomfortably hot, but this time of year will be just right. This completely accessible boardwalk hike will show you all that this natural wonder has to offer, without taking too much of your energy.
12. December - Pine Tree Trail - Las Cruces
Okay, this might not be the most wintery hike compared to the trails in the mountains that are covered with snow, but being surrounded by pine trees might be enough to get you into the holiday spirit. Nevertheless, this 4-mile loop trail in Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area offers absolutely stunning panoramic views, and will have you appreciating New Mexico’s beauty as you enter a new year.
Where do you plan to hike in 2019? Share your favorite New Mexico trails with us in the comments!
Don’t forget to share photos from your hiking adventures with us throughout the year in our
New Mexico Nature Lovers Facebook group, or tag us on Instagram by tagging #onlyinnewmexico for a chance to be featured!