These 7 New Mexico Hiking Trails Lead To Some Incredible Pieces Of History
In case you didn’t already know, New Mexico is filled with some fascinating history. You’ll find ancient dwellings that date back at least 1,000 years, abandoned relics of the state’s territorial past, and even much older pieces of history that will take you back millions of years to the age of dinosaurs. If you want to explore of some of these but still want to get a bit of exercise, you’ll want to check out these fantastic hikes.
1. Cloud-Climbing Trestle Trail (Cloudcroft)
How does a quick hike to an abandoned railroad sound? This one in southern New Mexico will not only take you into the mountains to see the old wooden railroad and a replica of the old rail depot but you’ll also be treated to the sweeping mountain views.
Miles: 1.2 miles
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2. Dog Canyon Trail #106 (Oliver Lee State Park)
That is one gorgeous sight, don’t you think? Just be warned that the trail can be challenging as it traverses the canyon walls to an old logging road and even some cabin ruins barely standing.
Miles: 5.6 miles one-way
3. El Morro Mesa Top Trail (El Morro National Monument)
Northwestern New Mexico is rife with historic sites and this one shows off the area’s great views and history. Part of the loop will take you past Inscription Rock, a massive bluff covered in roughly 2,000 inscriptions and petroglyphs from Indigenous peoples, Spanish explorers, and American settlers. The trail is short but the switchbacks may also be a bit strenuous for some, so be sure to take your time.
Miles: 2-mile loop
National Park Service
4. Gila Cliff Dwellings (Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument)
This short hike has two pieces of history we’ll mention. First, the cliff dwellings here date to the late 1200s, when a group of Mogollon people crafted a home out of the side of a cliff. Second, the Gila Wilderness, which the national monument exists within, was the country’s first designated wilderness area when it was established in 1905. Here, you can witness what life for the Mogollon may have been like as you pass by on the trail.
Miles: 1-mile round trip
5. Main Loop Trail (Bandelier National Monument)
This trail is short but you’ll find yourself wanting to spend hours here exploring the alcoves and other archaeological finds. The trail begins just outside the visitor center, giving you a great view of the dwellings and kiva here.
Miles: 1.2-mile loop
National Park Service
6. Peñasco Blanco Trail (Chaco Culture National Historical Park)
You’ll find plenty of history at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park but if you have some time and want to explore the area a bit more, head out on this hike in the park’s western region. Most of the trail is flat (with the exception of the climb on the last ¾ mile) and will lead you to one of the older pueblos and a pictograph that may depict a supernova from 1054.
Miles: 7.2 miles round trip
7. Three Rivers Petroglyph Site (Three Rivers)
About 17 miles north of Tularosa sits a petroglyph jackpot. More than 21,000 petroglyphs of people, birds, fish, and other designs are scattered across boulders at this picturesque site. The images were created as early as 900AD by the Jornada Mogollon people with simple stone tools. Your mileage may vary depending on how many petroglyphs you attempt to find.
Miles: Estimated 2-mile loop
Since it’s currently winter, you might also be interested in checking out some trails you can do right now to make sure you get some exercise during these cold months! Read
8 Picturesque Trails In New Mexico That Are Perfect For Winter Hiking for beautiful trails to explore.
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