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Caja del Rio OHV Trail

MODERATE 35 reviews
#30 of 112 trails in

Caja del Rio OHV Trail is a 19.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Santa Fe, New Mexico that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 19.9 miles Elevation Gain: 839 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

mountain biking

bird watching

ohv / off road driving

forest

views

wildlife

off road driving
15 days ago

We went out right after it rained and it was very muddy. The ground is clay like and can be deceiving. Otherwise it’s a pretty straight forward trail.

off road driving
1 month ago

Super easy trail in any truck/UTV/Jeep. Trail is ok mostly dirt road, but the views at the end are excellent,

hiking
washed out
3 months ago

This trail should be marked Easy. It might be more challenging when muddy. Views are okay. Trails are littered with trash and broken glass. Our truck is a built 2016 Tundra and we left 2wd. If it wasn't for all the sxs running across the roads we could have run it at 40mph. Overall we enjoyed ourselves.

hiking
4 months ago

nice chill trail. a couple semitechnical spots. not good if it rains. will be muddy.

off road driving
5 months ago

Some nice views of the surrounding mountains. Easy road but not for a low car

hiking
6 months ago

Not great for trail running, very dusty and a lot of off readers and hunters

off road driving
6 months ago

Drove this in a 2019 4Runner Off Road, and a 2018 Wrangler Sport. Both have stock ride heights. I would consider this to be on the easy side of moderate. moderate ground clearance is necessary in a couple spots, but we stayed in 2Hi the entire time. The trail can definitely be narrow even for our vehicles, but the views at the end were nice.

off road driving
7 months ago

Nice trail, 99% dry with 2 or 3 slightly muddy spots. Stock Jeep Rubicon was not challenged. But a couple of sections required high clearance, so not recommended for standard SUVs or crossovers. Would be very fun in an ATV.

off road driving
11 months ago

I had a much different experience than many of the reviewers below. As of October 26th, 2018, this is not an "easy" or "fast" off road trail. Sure, if you stick to the cattle roads, you can push 30 mph. However, you will run into washed/rutted out sections of the road that sink 2-3 feet down. I sincerely doubt that you want to slam into some of these ruts/whoops/etc. at any sort of speed. I went as far to the north as Ortiz Mountain and Montoso Peak. (I actually went between Ortiz and Montoso). I went as far to the south as Tetilla Peak. At no time were any of the roads/trails hazard free. It was quite common to drive up to a 25-30 yard stretch of deep mud; patches of washed out roadway filled with jagged rocks; or deeply rutted out sections of the road that required careful straddling. None of the hazards were incredibly difficult, but if you come out with the impression that you're going to fart around at 45 mph, you're going to get snap your "stuff" up. Cows. Lots of them. I would guess that there are at least 5 different herds grazing the Caja. It was not at all uncommon to find a cow drinking from a mud puddle in the roadway. It would be a damn shame if someone came barreling around a turn only to slam into a 1700lb Hereford. I'm telling you, there's a high probability that you're going to have a bad time if you act like a dummy. I sincerely doubt that anyone in a high clearance 2WD (think crossover) will make it anywhere substantive in the Caja. There's a gnarly section of cattle road approx. 1-2 miles into the trail (near where the makeshift shooting range is), and it would be very entertaining to see a Subaru go through it. It's not impossible, but I don't think it would be wise. I was in a Titan PRO-4X and I did OK. I was in 2WD for most of the trip, but I switched into 4HI once we got into the nastier stuff just to make life smoother. I did not fit around most of the turns or between tight sections with trees. If you're in a wider truck, you may want to consider this. Trees/branches/bushes will be rubbing up against you, and you will need to fold your mirrors in. Some of the river crossings were gnarly. Washed out with jagged rocks 1-2 feet deep. Some of the river crossings required a steep, sharp turn once making it across. Not overly technical, but I don't think a longbed truck would make it without doing an Austin Powers 30-point turn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGiQOCX9UbM Overall I had a blast. I drove my dad out here (copilot #1) and we had a ton of fun as a team. Our primary suggestion is that you come prepared. Google a section of the trail that you think leads to a great view of the Rio Grande. Believe it or not, but Google knows de wae. I would sincerely recommend downloading some sort of map. I promise you, you will get lost if you go off of the main roadway without some sort of knowledge of how to get back. There are sections of the trail that disappear; it's highly likely that you won't see the trail that you need to turn onto once you're off the cattle road. The trails branch off suddenly, and it was totally common to drive over pathless sections of the desert via Google Maps' directions. (You could just barely see where a trail used to be once upon a time.) Outside of that, PLEASE (1) bring food and water. If you snap your "stuff" up out here, you're probably going to be walking out to the main roadway and waiting for someone to come by. At times, I was several miles from the main cattle road. (I'm remembering somewhere between 10 and 20 miles away.) (2) There is 4G/LTE out here, so bring an car-type phone charger. You may be lucky enough to find an area that has signal. (3) Create a contingency plan. There are sharp volcanic rocks out here - what happens if you shred a tire? You're not going to have fun using a Hi-Lift jack in loose desert mud, believe me. (Bring a first aid kit, too.) (4) Finally, bring the proper mindset. You're going to have to constantly troubleshoot this trail in its current state. Again, this is not Moab or the Rubicon, but you're not going to find pretty manicured dirt roads out here. The cattle road is OK (I uploaded a picture of a nice section), but it gets nasty too. Come prepared, have fun and God bless.

off road driving
11 months ago

Great little trail for a quick adventure. You can do the whole thing in 2 to 3 hours from the trail head. I saw reviews saying this could be done in a high clearance 2wd... that may be true but I would not recommend. While most of it is pretty tame, there are a couple of rocky sections that can be a little more technical. If you are unsure of your skills or vehicle, I would stay to the right at the top and then back track. The trail is an out and back with a "lolipop" at the top. If you go counter clockwise, the west part of the lolipop along the power line cut is pretty technical. Nothing major, but can be challenging due to steep grade and large rocks. Pay attention to the map, the turn off from 24 is easy to miss. It is just past the 11 hundred well site, which you will see and notice by the cattle corral off to the right. Most of 24 up to the turn off is very easy and fast with a few rutted areas and washout areas but all in all very easy. Once you turn off of 24 the trail gets narrower and a little harder to follow. In particular, there is a twisty section through some cedars among a bunch of small rocks where you might question if you are even on the trail. Just keep going. We went right or counter clockwise. At the top, you will have to get out to see the canyon. There are a ton of scrub bushes and small cedars blocking the view. I would recommend to keep going and watch for a turn out toward a power line pole. From here you can see great views of the Rio Grand and the canyon below. Once back on the trail you will go along the power line cut and this is probably the hardest part of the trail. If you are unsure, go back the way you just came. We did the trail in a stock Land Cruiser with AT tires and had no problems. We did not see anyone other than some ranchers on horseback looking for their cows. We chose to drive back and picnic with the snow capped mountains in the back ground rather than the top. There was really no place to have a picnic at the top among the brush and trash. I would recommend this trail if you have limited time. The canyon is worth the trip. Happy trails!

off road driving
Friday, September 28, 2018

Beautiful views!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Fast, bumpy, desert twists and turns. Baha race around. Tons of fun fast! Lifted F350.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Great Short trail just outside Santa Fe. took me about 2 hours with stopping for pics. When dry it's easy for any 4x4 and most high clearance 2wd should be able to make it. AT&T has phone service through out most of the trail, so it's a safer one to go alone.

off road driving
Sunday, May 13, 2018

Great view of the Rio Grande Valley rewards you at the end of the trail. A couple small washouts but nothing too difficult, took a 4WD Tacoma, used 2WD 95% of the time.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Awesome place to take your 4x4. I had a blast exploring the trail which you definitely have some options. The view was amazing from every aspect of the trail.

recorded Caja del Rio OHV Trail

hiking
25 days ago

off road driving
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

off road driving
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

mountain biking
6 months ago

recorded Caja del Rio

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

off road driving
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Friday, October 19, 2018

off road driving
Sunday, September 23, 2018

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