Physical Education

4 Outdoor Outings To Help You Escape City Life

Rene Chavez
5 min read
Go Take a Hike
Share ::
The first rule of hike club is, ‘You do not talk about hike club’—NOT. Please for the love of God, if you’re going out, tell everyone where you’re going, when you’re going, who you’re with and every other damn detail. Did 127 Hours look fun to you? Didn’t think so. That said, hiking is one of the absolute best activities in New Mexico. Not only does the geography range from lava tubes to snowy mountains to quiet forests streaked with golden aspens, but the sweeping azure skies and stupendous neon sunsets are one of a kind. So whether you’re new to the area or just looking for some fun trails, here are a few beautiful day hikes close to Burque.

If solitude and 360-views are what you’re looking for, then Mt. Taylor is the place to go. About 20 miles northeast of Grants in the Cibola National Forest, this 6-mile round trip trek is not for the faint of heart. At Trail 77 after you get over the first big hill, you’ll come to a gorgeous glen that is perfect for picnics, naps or even some really zen yoga (don’t mind the occasional cow hollering at your yoga pants booty.) As you keep going, look out for some really bizarre trees that look like alien surveillance towers created by a creature who’s not quite sure what a tree looks like. Just trust me—they’re cool. Next up is what I call WTF Hill which is basically the part of the hike where you’re cussing the whole time either because your butt and thighs are burning like the devil or because when you turn around, the view is straight out of The Sound of Music. Keep telling yourself the end is just over the next hill. Not true, but eventually you’ll get to the top which is an extinct volcano. At about 11,301 ft, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

If you were a fan of Where’s Waldo? when you were a kid, then the Zuni-Acoma Trail at El Malpais National Monument (aka The Badlands) is the place for you. It’s a massive game of “Find the Cairn.” About 16 miles south of Grants, you’ll start this 14-mile round trip on a sandy dirt track. Keep going ‘til you hit the lava fields. That’s where it gets fun. The Forest Service has done a great job of building up decent sized cairns to plot the way. This is a place where a lot of hikers have gotten lost so here’s a big hint: if you don’t see the next cairn, stop right where you are. Don’t move outside a 6 ft radius of that spot until you have seen the next. The great thing about this hike is that it literally makes you stop and take a look around. You have to be fully present and focused. For bonus points, glance into all the mini-crevasses you hop over. The winner is whoever finds the giant marble pillar that some weirdo hauled out only to drop into a crack. Happy hunting!

If you’re looking for something a bit closer, just hop over to Placitas and follow Tunnel Spring Road to its end. Within the first mile there’s a bit of a steep climb. I’ve noticed a paced march is helpful for not running out of steam but feel free to take a snack break. They’re half the fun of hiking,
que no? This 5 ¼-mile loop will have you stopping to smell the flowers—well, maybe just looking at the flowers from a safe distance since they’re actually cactus flowers. Either way, these brilliant yellow desert gems are perfection. Once you reach the top, whip out that camera and take a selfie with a background that stretches out for miles. Just keep an eye out for storm clouds ‘cause they can creep up and you’ll end up walking that last mile in rain.

Newsflash: hiking in not just a summer activity! Depending on how deep the snow is this winter, grab your boots or your snowshoes and drive up Hyde Park Road towards the Santa Fe Ski Area. Chamisa Trail is just one of the number of trails that start right on the side of the road. It’s not a difficult hike but the stillness in winter when the snow swallows up all noise makes the trail eerily mystical. You might see families playing in the snow at the trailhead and couples walking their Huskies farther in but for the most part, the only sound you’ll hear is your own breath. Enjoy the peace solo or grab a buddy and prepare for Call of Duty: Snowball Warfare.

Lastly, everyone hates being the new kid so try the
Albuquerque Hiking and Outdoor MeetUp to meet enthusiastic hiking buddies and find new locales. Also make sure to visit the US Forest Service website for more info on hiking trails.

1 2 3 214