Horsethief Mesa Loop

 9 votes

13.0 Miles 20.9 Kilometers

90%

Singletrack

1,062' 324 m

Ascent

-1,060' -323 m

Descent

7,219' 2,200 m

High

6,850' 2,088 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

All Clear

7,219' 2,200 m

High

6,850' 2,088 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

This scenic loop is a great low (7200') elevation ride for when the snows arrive to higher ground.

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Overview

Like most of the trails here in the high desert, winter brings snow, and hellatious mud. I wouldn't ride this in wet conditions.
Horsethief is a great loop along the east side of the Rio Grande Gorge. Quite suitable for spring and fall, when the snows arrive on, or are slow to depart from, the higher mountain rides in the area. Great fun for an intermediate rider... all the way to a hammerhead. Down and up, and all around.

Go fast! Or simply soak in the vistas with friends.

Need To Know

You'll want to park outside the gate at the highway. When the transfer station closes... so does the gate! Don't get locked in.

This loop can be ridden either way. When the prevailing SW winds are present, a clockwise direction will have the wind at your back along the rim. Often it is ridden both ways. Just turn around, and go the other way at the junction of the dirt road!

Description

The beginning of this ride travels to the entrance of the Hondo Transfer Station. Ride along the right side of the chain link fence, and angle left to pick up the dirt road SW.

About a mile along you'll see a definite singletrack entering from behind you on the right (go right for counter-clockwise), and a singletrack angling left from the intersection of another road. Go left for clockwise, and a couple flowing miles down to the rim of the gorge. At mile 3 you'll see a s-track hard left. Take this out and back a mile each way, if you've enough time. Great view of the John Dunn bridge from there.

If not you'll soon swing right onto the rim (N) and begin your first of many small, and sometimes challenging climbs. There will be a short section of doubletrack from which keep a sharp eye out for the singletrack going left behind a tree (small rock cairn).

There are lots of places to stop along the way. There is another left spur along the rim, but it does not go very far at all. Stay to the right and travel away from the rim to get around a large drainage (arroyo).

When in doubt stay on the singletrack as it crosses the occasional road grade. This is New Mexico... don't expect a lot of signage. :-) Have fun!

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4.1 from 9 votes


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Check-Ins

Sep 12, 2016
david darling
Rode clockwise — 1h 30m Delete
Sep 5, 2016
Mike Dry
Fun trail-definitely going to be better next time. Spent a little time making sure we were on route. Had to backtrack a few minutes in beginning. Delete
Sep 4, 2016
Sarah Lensing
Beautiful view of river but lots of loose rock Delete
May 8, 2016
Amelia Hight
I got lost Delete
May 6, 2016
DE Straate
Fantastic trail. Tougher physical test than I was expecting. Fantastic scenery Delete
Jun 7, 2015
Ian Morales
Went to bridge overlook and rode out and back the first single track part before heading back to car. So, worth it. 16mi Delete
Oct 25, 2014
Tony Shouse
1h 10m Delete
Oct 10, 2014
Joshua Langlais

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Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 9 votes

#2

in Taos

#864

Overall
  4.1 from 9 votes
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#2

in Taos

#24

in New Mexico

#864

Overall
200 Views Last Month
3,494 Since Nov 8, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate

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Conditions


All Clear on Sep 12, 2016

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