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Glorious Natural New Mexico!

11/08/10 - Various mountains and parks, NM

Enjoying the beautiful hiking trails that New Mexico has to offer (and located within 2-3 hours of our house!)

New Mexico, home to stunning scenery and few crowds, has some amazing hiking trails and could accurately be nicknamed the Hidden Gem State!  While we are fortunate enough to have the gorgeous Sandias, with their multitude of awesome trails right in our backyard and take advantage of them as often as possible, there are so many other wonderful areas in our state to explore too!  Loving every opportunity to get outside, we managed to enjoy quite a few of them during the 2010 spring-summer-fall hiking season.  This year, we made our very first trip to Chaco Canyon (officially known as Chaco Culture National Historical Park) over Memorial Day weekend and couldn't believe we had waited so long - what an amazing and intriguing park!  In addition, we made return trips to some areas we've enjoyed in the past: Bandelier National Monument, Taos Ski Valley - Williams Lake Trail, McCauley Hot Springs Trail in the Jemez Mountains and 4th of July Canyon in the Manzano Mountains southeast of Albuquerque.


Hopefully next year, we'll have an opportunity to go further afield, as there are many more wonderful New Mexico hiking areas located within 3-5 hours from us that we're eager to explore!


Hiking the dramatic Falls Trail at Bandelier


The falls were gushing at Bandelier in early May (well, for NM!)


Stunning waterfall on the aptly named Falls Trail


Caroline poses amongst the ruins at Chaco Canyon on a gorgeous late May day


Ruins at Chaco Canyon


Kiva ruins at Chaco Canyon


Ruins at Chaco Canyon


Ruins at Chaco Canyon


There was still a little snow on the Williams Lake Trail at the Taos Ski Valley in early July


Lovely Williams Lake in the Taos Ski Valley


Just beyond Williams Lake, the log where Scott crossed the waterfall (while Caroline prudently stayed behind)


Just after leaving our house on the drive up to Jemez, we caught a glimpse of the balloons during Balloon Fiesta in early October


A few fall leaves were just starting to turn in the Jemez Mountains in early October


Enjoying the Jemez on a warm October day


Enjoying a post-hike soak in the warm springs on McCauley Hot Springs Trail


Caroline & Nikki pose in the colorful fall foliage at 4th of July Canyon

The Alpine majesty of Bandelier National Monument, located outside Los Alamos, NM


Spring wildflowers on the Falls Trail at Bandelier


Scott poses with the waterfall, such a novelty for us New Mexicans!


Cow carcass at the bottom of the Falls Trail, Bandelier National Monument


Petroglyphs at Chaco Canyon - some of the best we've ever seen!


Caroline's convertible pants come in handy in the variable climate of Chaco Canyon


Ruins at Chaco Canyon just beyond a massive rockslide


Scott prepares a picnic lunch upon our arrival at the Williams Lake trailhead parking lot just outside Taos


We made it to the lake!


July wildflowers in the Taos Ski Valley


A hiker cools off in the waterfall at Williams Lake, Taos Ski Valley


Nikki & Scott pose in the October sunshine on the stunning McCauley Hot Springs Trail


Caroline took a post-hike splash in the warm springs on McCauley Hot Springs Trail


Hiking 4th of July Canyon, so-named for the rare NM maples that turn brilliant in the fall, with Nikki


We didn't make it to 4th of July Canyon until early November and many of the leaves were already on the ground, but it was still a pretty hike


Scott, proud Canadian sympathizer, shows his true colors at 4th of July Canyon