Last August I wrote a piece about a hike we took on a trail just a few miles down Highway 68 from our home in northern New Mexico. It was entitled “A Walk in the Sage” and discussed the Rift Trail system that is south of our home. Little did I know, that trail system, comprised of about a dozen miles of trail was about to get much larger.

Rio Grande Gorge, NMIn speaking with one of our neighbors, she asked if we were aware of the trails available to the west of our home, off of a County Road that leads into our subdivision. In the past, the road had continued south down to Santa Fe along the Rio Grande Gorge. However in the 1970’s a road slide had occurred tumbling thousands of pounds of rock onto the already deteriorated surface of the old road. Rather than investing the money to remove the boulders and restore the road, the county simply closed it off, eliminating it as a route to Santa Fe.

Taos Mountain, NM

Taos Mountain

Apparently, as soon as it was closed, hikers, bikers and other outdoors people took over and began using it as a trail system. Some very enterprising hikers were able to connect the old road to the west to the trail system to the south, resulting in many miles of trails, most with a spectacular view of the Rio Grande Gorge, the surrounding mountains or both. It has taken us nearly a year, but we have finally ventured to the end of the road to see what we could see. And what we could see was certainly worth seeing.

Rift Trail System Sign

Rift Trail System Sign

We made the mistake of venturing out on the hottest day of the year; not the smartest move on our part as this trail is devoid of trees or shade, sporting only an occasional small pinyon pine to break the intense sunlight. As we were only heading out for a short walk, we also forgot to bring water along, something you should NEVER do on a hike. Annie was hiking with us and took to running (slowly) ahead so she could lie in wait in the shade of the low branches of the occasional tree while we approached.

Rio Grande Gorge, NMWe were thrilled to find this multiple trail system, almost within walking distance of our home and will definitely visit it many times in the future so we can explore the many avenues, twist and turns that it contains. But next time, we will do it on a cooler day…and bring water!

Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.

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  1. Diane Berry

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Very Beautiful scenery, it sounds like a great place to hike but it also sounds like next time you need to bring some water or at the least a portable water filter of some sort…lol…

    Sort of reminds me of some areas here in northern ca, very arid and dry. Were planning a nice hike at the end of the month, here is a quick little tip, go to the dollar store and pick up one of those cheap umbrellas, they fit in your day pack and are light and work well for quick out of the pocket shade.