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Albuquerque, NM: Ojito Wilderness

A perfect spring getaway just northwest of Albuquerque, this 4.3-mile loop cruises the base of a towering mesa, follows a classic desert arroyo, and hits a hoodoo hot spot in the Ojito.

Rating

The Ojito Wilderness is over 11,000 acres of roadless, trailless New Mexico desert at it’s best. This 4.5-mile loop begins at a primitive trailhead—there are no services in the Ojito so be sure to bring water—and begins by following old doubletrack north from the trailhead. The trail fades as it approaches the base of the Bernalillito Mesa which towers 400 feet above the surrounding desert, and you’ll continue cross-crountry for 1 mile north to the richest hoodoo area on this route. It’s another half-mile trail-less trek to the north edge of the mesa where this route turns east before dipping into a wash. Exploring the rocky desert—leaving relic ponderosa, fossils and any archeological remains in the rocky basin undisturbed. This route climbs up and over a small hill before turning south at the edge of the Arroyo La Jara at mile 3.4 and following it’s rugged contour just over 1 mile back to the trailhead.
Access to the Ojito is difficult or impossible when roads are wet, but the summers are very hot and dry. Bring plenty of water and try to avoid hiking during the mid-day heat of summer.
-Mapped by Rick Schneck

To Trailhead

From Albuquerque, drive17 miles north on I-25, take exit 242, and turn left onto US-550. In 21.1 miles turn left onto dirt at Cabezon Rd. and bear left immediately at the Y-junction. Stay on the main road winding west then north. Park at the doubletrack hiking trail on the left, 11 miles off US-550.

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