A New Mexican Thanksgiving

NYCOH

Observer
this year we decided to make an impromptu Thanksgiving trip down to New Mexico to explore what they have to offer. we would typically head west into UT, but this time, we figured we'd mix things up a bit...thanks to those who helped build our route here we were able to built a solid 4 day exploration trip through some amazing areas.

The trip went something like this...

took I25 down
San Lorenzo Canyon
Luna Park (camp)
Luna Park>Monticello
Monticello Canyon/Box
Mt Withington (Bear Trap Canyon up and 330 on the way down to 107)
Magdalena
Pie Town
603>York Ranch>117 (El Malpais)
Chain of Craters Byway
57>Zuni Canyon (camp)
Grants>605>509>rte 9>57>chaco canyon
Chaco Canyon loop and Pueblo Alto hike
chaco>550>96>112>313>Horse Heaven Canyon (camp)
Nogales Cliff Ruins
96>84>64>285 north home





Day 1: long drive down to San Lorenzo Canyon from Denver via i15...then camping outside of Luna Park

after the long haul south, our first stop was San Lorenzo Canyon.
NMThanksgiving-1 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

we were contemplating setting up camp in one of the offshoots within the canyon
NMThanksgiving-3 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

but we decided to continue on south and get a bit closer to Monticello before calling it a night...took a little stroll through a tighter section before moving on
NMThanksgiving-4 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

after passing on the campsite, we continued to the end of the canyon (end for vehicles)
NMThanksgiving-5 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-6 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

then it was time to test out my new 2way air system before heading south to find camp
NMThanksgiving-7 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

having a little fun in San Lorenzo


note: do not trust Google Maps when traveling in the backcountry of NM...they don't know ****! numerous times on this trip, we had to backtrack as Google led us to closed roads and or private property with locked gates...

after some poking around, we finally found the forest road up to Luna Park where we found camp on the back side of the park overlooking the Monticello area..
NMThanksgiving-8 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-9 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
Day 2: Monticello Box>Bear Trap Canyon>Mt Withington>Pie Town>Chain of Craters>Zuni Canyon

Friday morning we awoke to clear skies and no neighbors
NMThanksgiving-11 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

warmed up our breakfast burritos and hit the trail
NMThanksgiving-14 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

as we rolled past Monticello and up the canyon, i saw a familiar sign that got me excited for what was to come...
NMThanksgiving-15 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

then turn after turn of dry crossings got me a bit concerned that we came all this way for a dry canyon.....then....
NMThanksgiving-16 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

further and further we made our way up the canyon the more and more i fell in love with the area...i would love to come back during foliage time
NMThanksgiving-17 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

nearing the ranch, we spotted a large hawk keeping an eye on the area
NMThanksgiving-19 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-20 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

then when i thought the canyon couldn't get any better...the exit was an amazing way to end a great trail!
NMThanksgiving-22 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-23 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

we decided to pass on the hike to the springs at the end as we still had plenty of ground to cover before calling it a night.....


highlights from Monticello Box



as suggested we took the route through Bear Trap Canyon on our way up to Mt Withington
NMThanksgiving-26 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-28 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

we even saw some snow on the trail on our way up to the summit....
NMThanksgiving-29 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

always enjoy checking out fire towers...
NMThanksgiving-30 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-33 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

and the views
NMThanksgiving-34 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-35 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-36 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

i took a slight detour on the way down by going down 330 over to rt 107 on our way to Magdalena to top off the tank..managed to find a cool spot for lunch on the way down
NMThanksgiving-38 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

exit to rt 107
NMThanksgiving-39 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

where the fun stops and return to civilization begins...
NMThanksgiving-40 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

after topping the tank off, we drove past the VLA on our way to Pie Town!
NMThanksgiving-42 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr





the original plan was to camp along the Chain of Craters byway, but the sun was going down and we didn't really find a spot that sparked our interest..the byway is by no means a fast route either...interest views but bumpy and slow going
NMThanksgiving-43 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

realizing the distance we had to make up in the morning to get to Chaco Canyon and the lack of good camp spots, we continued on north into the top of Zuni canyon where we setup camp on top of a small hill and called it a night...a cold and coyote filled night :)
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
Day 3: Chaco Canyon>Horse Haven Canyon (Llaves)

After a cold night that was shortened by the howling of nearby coyotes, we continued our way north through Grants where we topped off before setting sights on Chaco Canyon...

working our way up 57 into Chaco Canyon
NMThanksgiving-44 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

Chaco Canyon was a blast to explore...so many amazing ruins throughout the region...only having a day to explore, we had to be choosy on what to see...

Chetro Ketl

from the Pueblo Alto trail
NMThanksgiving-104 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-106 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

from ground level
NMThanksgiving-46 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-58 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-54 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-56 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-57 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-60 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-61 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-68 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-66 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-69 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-73 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-71 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
Pueblo Bonito

view from Chetro Ketl
NMThanksgiving-64 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

view from Pueblo Alto trail
NMThanksgiving-89 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-98 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-102 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

from ground level
NMThanksgiving-74 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-75 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-77 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-79 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-81 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-83 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-86 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
Pueblo del Arroyo

from Chetro Ketl
NMThanksgiving-76 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

from Pueblo Alto trail
NMThanksgiving-95 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

Kin Kletso
NMThanksgiving-126 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-124 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-125 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

New Alto
NMThanksgiving-116 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-118 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-120 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

Pueblo Alto
NMThanksgiving-114 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-115 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

Jackson Stairway
NMThanksgiving-111 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

other trail photos
trail entrance
NMThanksgiving-94 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

another narrow section on the backside of the loop
NMThanksgiving-109 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-107 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

signs of sea life
NMThanksgiving-105 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

coming back down
NMThanksgiving-121 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

Wetherill Cemetary
NMThanksgiving-127 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
Day 4: Nogales Cliff Ruins

we found camp at the base of Horse Haven Canyon outside of Llaves...
NMThanksgiving-130 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

where a short drive in the morning we were at the trailhead to the Nogales Cliff ruins..the trail is more of a herd path from previous hikers working their way up the creek bed
NMThanksgiving-131 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

keep on trucking through the creek bed until the path works its way up the hill side and works its way up to the cliffs above
NMThanksgiving-132 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

then shortly after you're treated to a great set of ruins tucked in the cliff walls...
NMThanksgiving-134 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-136 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-137 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

there's a goat path along the cliff side where you can look up to see another set of walls, but no easy way to get up to them
NMThanksgiving-142 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

but it works over to another view of the cliff ruins
NMThanksgiving-141 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

our next stop was to rattlesnake ridge to check out another set of ruins...but we never found them :( only an interest hike up a cool hill to find nothing...
NMThanksgiving-144 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-145 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

so we aired up and started our trek home....from 112 we took 96 over to Abiquiu Reservoir
NMThanksgiving-147 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-148 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

then 84 north over to 64
NMThanksgiving-150 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-151 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

where we picked up 285 north into Colorado
NMThanksgiving-152 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr

NMThanksgiving-154 by NYCO-rh, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

NYCOH

Observer
thanks again to all those who helped build a great route.... we look forward to making it back south one day to knock a few more items off our to-do list :D
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
Nice pictures, another area to check out.
We used to end up in the Needles area in UT for Thanksgiving. Sometimes 8"s of snow, sometimes in the mid 60's.
 

mdsnitc

New member
Great report! Sorry to hear you had to backtrack numerous times. I should have shared more tracks with you.
 

SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
Nice report! Is this all in NM? My girlfriends parents have a house in Santa Fe and I've wanted to make a trip out there for some time now.
 
Top