New Mexico Hiking Guide

New Mexico Game and Fish
New Mexico Wildlife

3841 Midway Pl. NE
Albuquerque NM 87109

New Mexico State Parks

New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors
PO Box 36246
Albuquerque NM 87176

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Public Lands Information Center


Fire Dangers and Restrictions

Gyp Springs Pueblo Ruins
Near the center of Deer Canyon Preserve, about 5 miles from the main gate, lies the ancient ruins of the Gyp Springs Pueblo. These ruins were once inhabited by Tiwa or Tompiro-speaking people, descendents of the Anasazi and Mogollan cultures, whose presence in the region date back at least 7,000 years. 

The Salinas Valley, just to the northeast of Deer Canyon, became a major trade route from the 13th century to the arrival of the Spanish at the turn of the 17th century, drawing villagers from the Rio Grande pueblos to the West as well as the Plains Indians from the East.

Its location at the apex of these trade routes, the presence of abundant salt deposits in Estancia basin, relatively high rainfall and mild climate all contributed to the high use of this area. An estimated population of about 10,000 lived in the valley at the time of the Spanish arrival in the 17th century, making this one of the most highly populated areas in the region.

These thriving communities were severely impacted by Spanish incursion. In the aftermath of Franciscan missionary efforts, drought, and the subsequent Pueblo rebellion of the late 1670s, the pueblo villages and Spanish missions were abandoned. It was nearly 100 years before significant numbers of Spanish families—many of whom had been influenced by Pueblo Indian farming practices and in many cases now carried some native blood—moved back into the area, followed by Anglo farming and ranching families from the east. While Apache and Navajo people frequented the valley throughout the 1800s, the relocated Pueblo tribes remained concentrated to the north, along the Rio Grande and Jemez River valleys. While the original people are largely gone from the area, the pueblo site at Deer Canyon still tells their story.  

To visit the Gyp Springs Pueblo Ruins, begin by looking at the GPS Map Phase 2, under House Design Review within the HOA Information section of this web site. From the Main Gate, take Deer Canyon Trail all the way past the two entrances to Victorio Trails to Kachina Rd. – about 5 miles. Turn right on Kachina Rd. Go about .3 miles on Kachina. You'll see a sign that says "Pueblo" next to the trailhead.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Comprised of the three Pueblo Ruins sites surrounding Mountainair: Quarai, Gran Quivira, and Abo, the monument is a testament to the earliest contact between the colonial Spanish and the Pueblo people of the Salinas Valley. Information is available at the Mountainair US Forest Service or at each site.

US Forest Service, Mountainair District,
P.O. Box E, Mountainair, NM 87036.
Corner of Broadway and Ripley, 505-847-2990.

Abó: Ruins are 9 miles west on US 60 and one-half mile north on NM 513.
Telephone: 505-847-2400.

Gran Quivira: Ruins are 26 miles south on NM 55.
Telephone: 505-847-2770.

Quarai: Ruins are 8 miles north on NM 55 and 1 mile west.
Telephone: 505-847-2290.

Goat Canyon Trail in DCP
Follow Deer Canyon Trail for approximately 1.2 miles to its second intersection with Jumano Trail. Turn left, follow Jumano for approximately 1/2  mile. You will see the trailhead marker on your right. About four miles of easily accessible trail—comprised of well-worn wildlife and cattle paths—wind through the base of the canyon. The first portion of Goat Canyon Trail is a self-guided trail featuring numbered markers along its length, highlighting examples of ecological, geologic, and archeological features unique to Deer Canyon Preserve. The trail also offers stunning views from within the base of the canyon and the mesa above.

Abo Pass Trail
About 500 years ago, the Abo Pass was a trade route between the Rio Grande Pueblo Indians and Plains Indians to the East. Today, this same route, which begins at Abo Pueblo along US 60 and ends at the Rio Grande in Belen, offers beautiful views of the Manzano mountains and rolling plains to the West. Freight trains rumble alongside the road, delivering their cargo across the continent, demonstrating the continuing vitality of the route for delivery of modern-day goods and services.

Salt Missions Trail
Passing through Tijeras Canyon, which separates the Manzano from the Sandia Mountains East along hwy 333 (once part of historic route 66), down hwy 41, and back west along 60 to Mountainair and Abo Pueblo, this route, similar to Abo Pass, was a corridor for trade between the Plains Indians in the East and the Estancia Valley and Rio Grande Pueblos. Prominent among trade items was the salt left behind when Estancia Lake, once 40 feet in diameter, evaporated, leaving behind salt and other valuable mineral deposits.

Manzano Mountains State Park
Located just 13 miles to the NW of Mountainair off of NM 55, Manzano State Park contains 5 miles of interconnecting trails and a marked nature trail, introducing visitors to the beautiful Manzano Mountains. Visitors can utilize the day use area for picnics and BBQ’s or camp in primitive or developed sites. Park is open from April 1 – November 1.
New Mexico State Parks, Santa Fe

Manzano Mountain Wilderness
South of Albuquerque on the Western slope of the Manzano Mountains at 5,000 to 10,000 feet elevation, this wilderness area rises steeply toward rugged crest with lower pinon woodlands and upper pine forests cut by deep canyons.

Cibola National Forest Campgrounds

Capilla Peak Campground     
Located 12 miles west of Manzano via NM 55 and Forest Road 245, this campground offers great views of the Manzano Mountains, Rio Grande and Estancia Valleys. This is an 8-unit site at 9200 feet with access to Manzano Mountain Wilderness and Hawkwatch International raptor counting station.

Fourth of July Campground
Heavily used year-round and refurbished in 1998, this 25-unit campground gives hikers the state’s only look at red Rocky Mountain and Big Tooth maple leaves each fall.

New Canyon Campground
Located eight miles west of Manzano via NM 55, 10-unit campsite at 7800 feet gives access to Manzano Crest/Osha Peak trails.

Red Canyon Campground
Located just 12 miles West of Manzano via NM 55 Forest Road 245, this recently refurbished, large campsite (50 units + picnicking) is a good way into Manzano Wilderness via Red and Spruce Canyon trails on foot or horseback.


The Backpacker's Field Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills by Rick Curtis

Backpacker's Start-Up: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking & Backpacking by Doug Werner

The Gila Wilderness: A Hiking Guide by John A. Murray

Mike Butterfield's Guide to the Mountains of New Mexico by Peter Greene

Walking the World's Most Exceptional Trails by Eloise Napier


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