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South Boundary Trail #164 - IMBA EPIC

Difficult

Trail

21.4 mile 34.4 kilometer point to point
0% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,608' 490 m
Descent: -4,384' -1,336 m
High: 10,710' 3,265 m
Low: 7,171' 2,186 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

This classic little-bit-of-everything sub-alpine forest ridge ride is consistently ranked among the best in New Mexico.

Taber West

Electric Mountain Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Trail is snow-bound in the winter, and downed-trees can make travel unpleasant until crews get a chance to clear them, usually by mid June.

Overview

The IMBA EPIC South Boundary Trail begins at the El Nogal Picnic Area on US Highway 64 (~3 miles east of Taos) and ends on FR 76 close to Angel Fire.

There are a few popular rides and several burly loops that incorporate the South Boundary Trail—though most people ride it from east to west, either starting at Garcia Park (40-minute shuttle from Taos) or doing the full ride from FR 76 near Angelfire (1 hr shuttle). This direction offers more downhill and smoother climbs.

Description

The "full" SBT starts from FR 76—a washed-out, rocky access road best tackled in someone else's vehicle—and begins with a 1.5-mile, 800-ft rocky loose climb that may require some hiking. From Osha Mountain, the trail descends a loose road for less than a mile before entering the "Heaven on Earth" section: a consistent flowy classic side-hill singletrack descent through conifer forest and aspen groves. Then wipe the grin off your face with the 1.5-mile, 350-ft climb to Garcia Park.

At Garcia Park, the trail follows the road briefly before cutting right across the field and back into the forest where a series of old two-track and singletrack connectors weave westward. Route finding skills are important there are lots of unmarked turns, old roads, and meadows where the trail isn't well developed. The trail eventually continues it's side-hill traverse / descent through aspen and conifer forests that are even more stunning in the fall.

SBT loses most of its elevation in the last 5 miles, with the steepest and most technical bits thrown at you in the last 3, known as the El Nogal section. This challenging final descent is fast at times, loose at times, stair-steppy at times, scary at times, and exceedingly fun (at times.) Many riders will feel more comfortable walking through the tricky bits.

(For an alternate route, turn south on the Ojitos Trail #166 just past the obvious log drop. It's a longer, but mellower descent to the highway.)

This ride is normally done as a shuttle; some ride it as an out-and-back from Taos in a long day. There is no potable water on the trail, so bring plenty, and watch out for afternoon thunderstorms during summer.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Features, History & Background

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Check-Ins

Oct 26, 2019
Juan Guzman
11h 40m
Oct 19, 2019
jarrod King
Oct 16, 2019
Mike Meese
Trail is in great shape. Leaves are falling in the Aspen groves
Oct 12, 2019
April Johnson-Ramker
Oct 12, 2019
Andrew Wachter
Oct 5, 2019
Timrek Gorf
Some Puddles, mostly tacky and muddy the whole way through. Nice rain storm last night and foggy morning. Excellent Ride regardless! First ascent w… — 2h 30m
Sep 29, 2019
Aaron Kikola
Rode from 2.2 miles before FR76 connecting trailhead. Heaven on earth was incredible but the final plunge was so difficult... this trail kicked my ass
Sep 22, 2019
Dan Allen

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 78 votes

#1

in Angel Fire

#46

Overall
  4.7 from 78 votes
5 Star
71%
4 Star
24%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Ride Rankings

#1

in Angel Fire

#1

in New Mexico

#46

Overall
899 Views Last Month
46,334 Since Sep 9, 2013
Difficult

0%
0%
9%
0%
90%
1%

Photos

Fall on the South Boundary Trail
Nov 9, 2018 near Ranchos…, NM
Hittin' booters and poppin' wheelies coming down the SBT outside of Angel Fire, NM!
Jul 23, 2016 near Angel Fire, NM
South Boundary singletrack.
Aug 12, 2017 near Angel Fire, NM
Ripping singletrack at the top of the South Boundary Trail!
Jul 23, 2016 near Angel Fire, NM
Such sweet singletrack on Heaven on Earth... the trail deserves its name!
Jul 23, 2016 near Angel Fire, NM
Nice rest spot in the aspens before beginning the major decent.
Jul 6, 2015 near Ranchos…, NM

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