Explore the most popular birding trails in New Mexico with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Easy hikes through the general caverns.
I would suggest hiking in through the natural entrance, completing the Big Room, and then going up though the elevator for lunch (we didn't have any wait time). We packed our lunches, but they have a restaurant and gift shop on site. After, I would suggest making a reservation to go back down for any tours- FYI: King's Palace is the only one you can take a 4 year old on.
-Make reservations online as they fill up pretty quickly. I made mine online and then ran into truck problems and they were nice enough to reschedule us into open spots. The people there were very nice and accommodating, the people on the phone that I called to let them know what was going on- not so much. If you happen to have problems, get in touch with the actual people who work at that location, not the general national park services (that number was listed online).-
Anyway, after lunch, we left through the natural entrance to catch the bats leaving the caves, but it was moderate-strenuous. There was a woman who worked there that warned me that it was a strenuous 80 story ascent (probably because I had small children), but we were able to complete it. Just be aware there are a lot of switchbacks and it's a steep incline. But it was so beautiful and I definitely wouldn't skip out on this by taking the elevator both ways.
The temperature in the caves is 56° pretty much all the time, according to the rangers. We went in toward the end of June and it was cold enough that all my kids wanted sweaters, even with it being hot outside. So be prepared. In the regular caverns, you won't really need any flashlights. They have lights on pathways. But I read that if you do the lower caves (can't take children here), you will need them.

Beautiful child friendly trail. About 1:45 going up and 1:20 coming down. Hiked for my first time with my two kids, 6 and 11, it went well. Much cooler at the lake than at trailhead, bring extra sweater.

fun, and more wild the further west you get

Pretty views of Battleship Rock

Solid class 3 scrambling at the traverse from Deception Peak

hiking
1 day ago

Pristine wilderness. Makes you proud to be a New Mexican.
Not sure it the trail is really 6.4 miles.
Stick to the left of the Rio Nambe after the Windsor Trail forks.
Took about 5.2 miles to get there and 3.4 miles to return (following the trail to the left of the Rio).

The hot springs are amazing. Last 1/4 mile from road is not an easy trail but totally worth it. Don’t miss the cave half way.

The incline is very steady which makes this hike easier than you’d think for the elevation you gain. I backpacked there this weekend and it was beautiful. Lost Lake is a gem.

hiking
1 day ago

Hike was great all the way until the loop on top of the mesa. Trail seems to have washed away and there was a fire up there so lots of trees collapsed over what might have formerly been a trail.

Highly recommend taking a left once you get up the steep rocky portion around 3.6mi. There’s a neat rock formation over there you can catch your breath and look out across the valley. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have bothered with the loop around the top, though if you do poke around up there there’s a grave site to be found with candles, tobacco cans, and booze positioned around it.

The stream at the start/end of the trail was a nice chance to take a nice cool dip after the hike.

This is my favorite trail in this area so far! Great weather today. I’ll be doing this one again.

hiking
2 days ago

This was spectacular. We arrived early and were glad we did. Got amazing photos and a great workout as well. Met lots of interesting people along the way as the traffic picked up considerable by 10:00. Would defiantly do this again. Took us about 2 hours. Take lots of water with you.

hiking
2 days ago

It’s not long and it’s not difficult. And, the manufactured pavilion coverings really detract from the natural beauty. However! The first look out over the canyon is AMAZING!

Very beautiful trail with grass and flowers. The north-facing view at the end was great. We came back via the north crest trail giving us some shade and some westward views. We had to hike on the road for about 1/3 mike to get back to our car. Total distance doing this route was 6.7 miles.

hiking
2 days ago

Nice little hike out to Chimney Rock. Best to leave early in the morning before it gets too hot, as the trail is exposed the entire time.

Nice shaded trail. See the other side of the new trestle that you can view from 82. There is also a trail to the old trestle that has collapsed.

One of my favorite all time hikes ever.

hiking
2 days ago

Did a hike here once or twice back as a kid in the 90’s...let’s just say that it’s one of my few standards for comparing hikes to now.

hiking
2 days ago

Great trail. Nice and long (in reality, it only feels long)...good workout, good forest, even good meadows along the way for a break here and there.

Great trail with multiple options, really a network of trails. Altitude gains of 500 to 600 feet. Connects to the Little Tesque trail. Easily accessible from Santa Fe. Trails well marked with junction markers and on trail maps. We loved it. Lot’s great views.

This is a new favorite! It’s steep but worth it. The Aspen grove is like entering a secret world. The views at the top are spectacular. We’re probably moderate in hiking ability and got to the top in about an hour and 15 minutes with a break to let the rains slow down .

I liked this hike; it's not particularly difficult, though there are a couple steep sections. The trail is easy to follow and it's peaceful. Not much in the ways of views and vistas though. The trail terminates in a little meadow with a couple of backpacking campsites. Not exactly scenic, but it's pleasant.

Be mindful of monsoon season when doing this in the summer--it's best to do the hike in the morning.

Note also that the "Holy Ghost Trailhead" is located about 3/4 mile from the actual start of the trailhead. That is, if you park at the lot just outside of the trailhead, this is closer to 8.5 miles round trip.

Good hike with views of lake for two of us in mid 70s.

Beautiful trail. Would love to do again on a sunny dry day.

hiking
5 days ago

Have done this in spring snow and in summer during monsoon season. Beautiful hike any time. Lake is low lately (July 2018) but still a great trek with a payoff at the end. Family friendly.

Only thing it lacks is a view - but a lovely stream and trail - a few big trees down but just reopened this morning after 5 weeks closed due to fire hazard - so no complaints!

First time here and it couldn’t have been better! Easy enough my wife and mother finished it, yet challenging enough that my cousin and I were able to enjoy it. We went at two different paces which makes it great for all levels of experience.

We went up Italianos for about 1.2miles until the aspen grove. It is one of the most beautiful hikes I have done. Recommended by a Taos local to us. We saw so many different types of flowers and moss. The trail crosses over the creek quite a few times. Wear good shoes it is a little rocky at parts.

hiking
6 days ago

Very unique sight, all around a great hike. Highly trafficked but I met some nice folks along the way.
Just be aware of the heat and elevation; bring plenty of water and pace yourself accordingly. Very much worth going all the way to the top!

hiking
6 days ago

This is a nice trail but beware of the very aggressive wasps as you get close to the river bed. My son and I both got stung just walking by their hive in the rocks near the trail.

hiking
6 days ago

What an amazing view. It’s quite a steep hike, especially if you aren’t adjusted to the altitude. Go early to avoid crowds and sun.

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