Abiquiu Lake Trails … Fun Trails if You’re in the Area
The ranger had told me all about the Abiquiu Lake Trails. I had stopped into the Abiquiu Lake Visitor Center early in the morning and asked about the trails in the area. I listened and looked and found out the following facts.
There are three basic trails at Abiquiu Lake …
The White Trail (Piñon), Yellow Trail (Chamisa), and the Red Trail (Yucca). I did not even realize the trails were named Piñon, Chamisa, and Yucca until I started to write this post. Since all the trails were only marked by color, I had no need to know the names.
The Abiquiu Lake Trails circled around the campground and, as the ranger stated, “They intertwine like the circles of the Olympic Symbol.”
I had decided to do the Old Spanish Trail first since I knew I would finish at the Visitor Center … the perfect place to start on the Abiquiu Lake Trails.
(The White Trail started just behind the Abiquiu Lake Visitor Center).
White Trail … The Best
My favorite trail was the White. First of all, the white offered the longest loop (2.12 miles).
Secondly, the White trail presented opportunities for cliff side photos … especially from where I started behind the Visitor Center. In several places the White trail ran across sandstone stepping stones, stones the trail makers had laid down to change the riding surface. These stones were much preferred to the small, loose pebbles on other parts of the trails.
The White trail also ran across the top of the campground (so I could see our trailer far below) and out onto the plateau to the north.
Twice the White Trail took me to the plateau above and to the north of the campground. The first time I discovered a bench placed perfectly to see the north end of the lake. The second time the White Trail took me past a man made bird house on top of a twenty foot pole.
I especially liked the part where the White Trail runs over the slickrock down by the cliffs. Rolling onto and off of whale sized bodies of rock gets me excited. The challenge of the rocky terrain and the views off the cliff reminded me of Gooseberry Mesa in Utah.
Red and Yellow
Riding the other two trails (yellow and red) did not add much to my riding experience. Both were short (Yellow .41 miles, Red .13 miles) and placed on the side of the mountain. They actually seemed as if they were second thoughts, maybe created just to claim the park had three trails.
Dangerous Spots for Beginners
The trails seem to have been made to cause as little damage as possible to the environment, of which I am usually in favor. But sometimes that philosophy can make things a little dangerous for the riders … especially beginners. For instance, in many places the Abiquiu Trail crew did not cut the trail into the side of the hill, thus leaving the tread on a slant. If the tread substance had been clay, solid rock, or even sand this would not be a problem. But in some places the surface was mostly composed of loose marbles and golf balls. I am an experienced rider, so I had little trouble with these parts of the trails. But I did have to stay alert to the situation. I would never send my wife (a beginner) or my grand kids out there.
I had to laugh when I read the legend on the map. I am pretty sure everyone (including beginners) knows when they are on a slab of slickrock (without seeing a green snake painted on the surface). Maybe the snake painter had not biked the trails … or not enough to learn about the incredible traction a slickrock surface provides.
I did come across two different rock formations which struck me as looking like living animals. The first was a rock hanging off the cliff which looked like some kind of snake’s head. The second rock resembled a fish my brother George had shown me a photo of a few days later (called the Blobfish).
I rode every bit of the Abiquiu Lake Trails and actually did a couple parts twice. I can’t say I would drive all the way to northern New Mexico to do these trails. However, if I was in the area I would definitely do them again.
But I must restate one thing … the Abiquiu Lake Trails might look short and easy on the map but they are NOT for a beginner.
The scenery and the sunsets made my day. The following was a photo I took of the sunset right after I parked my bike at the end of this ride.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured … 36 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.
The following link can give you all the stats for the Abiquiu Lake ride … just click on the box below.
Would you like to try this ride? You can copy my GPX file from the GARMIN Link below.