Manzano Monster Loop

Consensus:    (details)
  4.0 from 1 vote
blueBlack  Intermediate/Difficult from 2 votes
Rank: #5 in the Albuquerque area
#39 in NM, #1,905 Overall
Views: 4,069. Last 30 days: 101
Condition Details | Update
Featured Ride in the area near Carnuel,
“A tour of the trail networks in the Northern Manzano Mountains.”
Lee Brinckerhoff on May 15, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
27.243.8 milesKilometers 2,938’896 m Ascent 7,708’2,349 m High 4% Avg Grade (2°)
80% Singletrack -2,936’-895 m Descent 6,414’1,955 m Low 28% Max Grade (16°)
May be closed during the summer months due to fire danger, check with the ranger station for details.
A great long ride just outside of Albuquerque that rolls through the Tunnel Canyon, Otero Canyon, Mars Court, Oak Flat and Cedro Peak trail systems with just a little pavement to connect them. There are loads of options to make this ride longer and/or harder, but as it is, this ride could take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 or 7 hours to complete. There are also several spots where one could bail onto the many FS Road's that you cross and work your way back to the car more quickly.

You can ride this either way but I don't like to be climbing on the loose eroded stuff in the Cedro Peak area and instead, I start by heading up Tunnel/Otero. While dirt bikes are allowed throughout much of the trail system they seem to mostly stay in the Cedro/Oak Flat areas and as such those trails can be very loose and badly eroded during dry times.

This is a long ride with a fair bit of climbing, even after getting through the "uphill" part and as such you may want to stash a car up at Oak Flat or Mars Court to be able to refill water and restock food.
Head up Chamisos Road from the parking and make a right onto the 462 ATV bypass. Then head straight onto the lower end of the Powerline Trail. Follow this through some nice fast banked corners down into and through a wash. As you're ridng up the right side of the wash, keep your eyes peeled for a trail that switchbacks up to your right, take it, it is unsigned and connects up to the Tunnel Canyon trailhead. Follow this trail until you drop down and through a culvert under the road. A quick climb at the end of the trail deposits you on the Tunnel Canyon Trail.

Make a left onto Tunnel Canyon and start climbing. Upon reaching the top, some rock gardens await before the junction with the West Ridge trail. Stay on the Tunnel Canyon trail and make the drop down to Otero Canyon. Several stair step drops are along this section of trail along with a couple of switchbacks and other tight turns and spots.

Once down to the Otero Canyon trail, make a hard right and start climbing, quickly passing the Blue Ribbon trail on your left. Otero Canyon is an awesome downhill run and not half bad going up, you could stop and play on the ledge drops. Once up the second steep rocky climb, roll a short ways up to the DOA boundary, passing the end of the West Ridge trail on your right and coming to the junction with the G Nasty Trail.

Turn left and climb this up to the meadow and the junction with the Blue Ribbon trail, nothing much of note besides the nice singletrack and one stair step in a very steep part of the trail. Once you reach the meadow, make a right onto the Blue Ribbon Trail and immediately tackle a rock garden in the trees. Once through that gradual climbing gets progressively rockier until you come out onto FS Road 106. Make a left on FS Road 106 and pedal along until you come to the Drop In trail on your right.

Roll down the Drop In, being careful to stay left, you'll see signs for the DOA boundary here and there, most notably about 5 in a row shortly after a log roll-over. Hang a left at a prominent trail junction and climb up to a 5? way junction with FS Road 106, another road and the Cajun Pine trail which is on the left just past the main jumble of trails and roads. Follow Cajun Pine, staying right at all trail junctions until you come to a FS Road. Just across the road and a little to the right, pick up Cajun Turkey and follow this to Wild Turkey (this looks like a road but quickly narrows to singletrack) and make a left. Follow this until you reach the Mars Court trailhead.

Pedal out to the pavement and make a left. Ride the road until you come to Hwy 337, make a left and then a right onto Oak Flat Road. Ride up Oak Flat Road until you come to the Oak Flat picnic Area and turn in. Work to the right in the picnic area to pick up the Mahogany trail.

Follow the Mahogany trail through a bunch of intersections until you can drop down to your left onto Pokerchip trail. Follow Pokerchip across FS Road 242 and start to climb loose baby heads, this is where the dirt bike traffic is really high (be careful in corners because of the loose trail surface) though there is some on Mahogany and the first part of Pokerchip as well. When the climb flattens out, look for the Meadow Singletrack trail on your left. Gradual climbing leads to a seat of your pants descent and another short section of FS Road, rocky downhill.

Once you've made it to level ground, ride a short way to Rattlesnake on your left, turn up that but quickly go right onto the Might Mule trail. Follow Might Mule to its end on Road 12 and head right, crossing FS Road 462 and joining the end of the Coyote trail. Descend the Coyote trail past the Coyote Split and make a left on the Coyote-Chamisoso Link trail. Follow this across FS Road 462 and make a right onto the Chamisoso trail which then T's into the Powerline trail. Make a right onto Powerline and pedal back to the ATV Bypass and eventually Chamisoso Road and the trailhead.
Land Manager: USFS - Cibola National Forest Office
Local Club: AMBA
View in 3D
5.0 (2)
A great selection of trails out of Oak Flat that is used as part of the 12 Ho...
near Ponderosa Pine, NM
4.1 (19)
A nice figure 8 ride with lots of fun singletrack and plenty of ledges and ba...
near Carnuel, NM
3.8 (12)
A round trip of the Southern Foothills singletrack.
near Carnuel, NM

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PHOTOS of Manzano Monster Loop
  3.0 from 3 votes
Just above the switchback with the tough step below it. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Starting the mellow, Nasty climb (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Curved tree and curved single track on the Drop In. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.7 from 3 votes
The culvert tunnel under "South 14" is well-lit and easily rideable but ... (Carnuel, NM)
  2.5 from 2 votes
Rocky trail (Carnuel, NM)
  2.5 from 2 votes
The gate at the end of the Coyote Trail, the road beyond is just a littl... (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Rock garden on Pokerchip North (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
The smooth climbing on the southern end of Blue Ribbon. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Descending the last bit of Blue Ribbon to the Otero Canyon junction. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
A couple of ledges at the top of G Nasty. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
The rocky section just past the G Nasty intersection. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Rocky climb on the northern end of the Drop In. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Logs to ride over on the Drop In Trail. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 3 votes
Trail parallels "South 14" highway (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 3 votes
This is the largest obstacle (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 3 votes
Trail alternates smooth and chunky sections (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 3 votes
Mixture of chunk and dirt through the scrub oaks (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Natural ledge drop in the bottom of the canyon, you could ride around it... (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Smooth single-track paralleling a stream bed (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Tunnel Canyon Trail climbing along the hillside. (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Un-natural ledge drop, this one can be difficult to see the first time y... (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Tight spot between rocks. (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Trail junction between the West Ridge and Otero Canyon Trails. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Bypass this gate for the North Cedro Single-track Loop or go through it ... (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Gradual climbs and descents on the Coyote Trail (Sandia Knolls, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Flowing single track near the bottom of Otero Canyon. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Sweet single track running down Otero Canyon. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Final rock step before the junction with the West Ridge Trail. (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
Big rock steps on the climb from Otero Canyon back up to the West Ridge. (Carnuel, NM)
  2.0 from 2 votes
More fun smooth single-track (Carnuel, NM)
  1.0 from 2 votes
Looking back on a rocky climb. (Ponderosa Pine, NM)