MTB Project Logo

Horsethief Mesa Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (57) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

12.7

Miles

20.4

KM

95%

Singletrack

7,216' 2,199 m

High

6,851' 2,088 m

Low

943' 287 m

Up

939' 286 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Like most of the trails here in the high desert, winter brings snow, and hellatious mud. I wouldn't ride this in wet conditions.

Overview

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

From the gate at the entrance to County Road B-008 ride about 150 feet in and look for a fence post on the right, the singletrack begins just before this post. This mile-long trail bypasses the dirt road that is the older access route, it crosses another road behind the transfer station at about 0.35 miles and continues through pinon and juniper forests, then an open sage field before joining the Horsethief Mesa Loop.

About a mile along, you'll reach the loop. Go right for counter-clockwise, or left and pass the intersection of the old doubletrack. If you ride clockwise there's 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!

Contacts

Shared By:

Peter Lamont with improvements by Shari Heier and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 57 votes

#1

in Taos

#260

Overall
  4.0 from 57 votes
5 Star
23%
4 Star
58%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
2%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Taos

#7

in New Mexico

#260

Overall
313 Views Last Month
13,758 Since Nov 8, 2013
Intermediate

5%
5%
78%
4%
7%
0%

Photos

Horsethief Mesa Trail ~ some of New Mexico's finest singletrack
Nov 14, 2017 near Arroyo…, NM
Horsethief
Nov 8, 2013 near Arroyo…, NM
Desert bighorn sheep.
Jun 22, 2019 near Arroyo…, NM
Nice view from the Horsethief Mesa
Apr 24, 2019 near Arroyo…, NM
singletrack bliss!
May 10, 2015 near Arroyo…, NM
Just one of the many vista locations along the rim.
Nov 8, 2013 near Arroyo…, NM

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 16 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2020
Josh W
Oct 9, 2020
Andrew Rollins
Good flow, but very bumpy 12.7mi — 1h 10m
Sep 6, 2020
Michael Lee
No vehicle access thru front gate Sept 5, 6, and 7th, 2020. Gate sign says it reopens Sept 8th. U could possibly throw your bike over the fence tho.
Sep 5, 2020
Alejandro Cazar
Not a particularly fun trail, but nice/rewarding views of the Canyon.
Aug 9, 2020
L Sloan
Jun 17, 2020
Lost Justpastnowhere
May 30, 2020
J.M. Gwidt
Get out early in the summer months, rolling wide trail 12mi — 1h 00m
Sep 10, 2019
Sean Wiggins