Hiking in New Mexico is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. This state is located in the southwest of the United States and shares the Four Corners region with Colorado and Utah. The mountain ranges are the southern Rocky Mountains. You can find a variety of hikes in the state, from the Rio Grande Gorge to the Gila Wilderness.
Wheeler Peak is one of the top hiking destinations in New Mexico. The hike offers stunning views of the mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge. This hike is ideal for families and individuals who are seeking an active vacation.
It is a Class 1 hike. Hikers will see breathtaking views, lush pastures, and towering pines. A few miles of the trail is shaded, but the remainder of the trail is exposed to the elements. There are multiple switchbacks along the route.
The summit of Wheeler Peak is especially beautiful during the summer months, when it is covered in colorful wildflowers. There are few places in New Mexico that offer such a spectacular alpine environment.
Rio Grande Gorge
There are a variety of trails in the Rio Grande Gorge. You can hike to stunning overlooks of the Rio Grande, enjoy scenic camping, and explore a wide variety of wildlife.
The Rio Grande River flows through the bottom of the gorge. Water temperatures rise in the mid-summer months to 70 degrees, making it an excellent fishing destination. In winter, the water temperature is only 38 degrees. However, the river offers good angling opportunities during the middle of the day.
Trails in the Rio Grande Gorge are steep and rugged. They require adequate hiking gear. It is not uncommon to see Bighorn sheep on the trail.
El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument is located in western New Mexico. It is a large area of volcanic lava flows and other landforms. The monument was created in 1987 and contains 114,277 acres of land.
El Malpais is a great place for hiking. You will discover a rich landscape of unique ecosystems and wildlife. The terrain is accessible by private automobile or horseback.
The canyon of El Malpais is home to juniper trees and hardy grasses. The cliffs offer spectacular views of the lava flows.
In addition to the lava flows, you will also find caves and other natural rock arches. Lava is extremely sharp, so it is best to wear work gloves when you are hiking.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is a 436-hectare (1,077-acre) historical site in central New Mexico. The monument contains relics of ancient Native American and Spanish pueblos. It is located near Mountainair, New Mexico.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Park is home to hundreds of archaeological sites. It is a great place to explore early civilizations and cultural borrowing. There are also ruins of 17th-century Spanish missions.
There are three sites that make up the Salinas Pueblo Missions National park: Gran Quivira, Abo, and Quarai. These sites are connected by public trails that allow visitors to see the ruins.
Visit Gran Quivira to view the largest pueblo. This ancient settlement is full of artifacts and kivas that are used as houses of worship. In addition, there are two mission churches and a partially excavated Pueblo Mound.
The Gila Wilderness is New Mexico’s largest wilderness area. It has a wide variety of wildlife and plants and is a transition zone between the Chihuahuan Desert and the Rocky Mountains.
The Wilderness Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. This law is designed to safeguard public lands from commercial and mining activities, and to protect clean water and ecologically important habitat.
Gila National Forest was established in 1905, and is the sixth largest national forest in the U.S., with more than 27,000 square miles of land. There is no commercial or industrial activity allowed within the wilderness areas.
Santa Fe Baldy
Santa Fe Baldy is one of the highest mountains in New Mexico, with a top elevation of 12,622 feet. You’ll find a trailhead just off Highway 285 North/St. Francis Drive. It is a moderately strenuous trail that’s perfect for anyone looking to get some exercise in. The hike is also one of the most popular in the area, so you may run into other hikers along the way. If you’re not feeling up to the climb, the short and easy Monte Sol Trail offers an alternative. This route isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re pressed for time, it’s still worth a try.