This is the 15-16 mile loop that is used for the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest
race put on by Zia Rides along with a little out and back at the far end to a nice view point and spot to have a snack.
It's mostly smooth and fast with gradual climbs and descents, a couple of short steeper climbs, and a little exposed rock.
This is a great ride for a fit beginner or anyone looking for a ride in a beautiful setting. This is a well signed trail system so just pay attention to the signs.
Start out by climbing up out of the trailhead on the Quacking Aspen Trail to a meadow with a metal frame in it. Just beyond this, look for the signed turn onto the Y2K Trail
heading left. Continue climbing eventually parallel to NM 400 until you reach a fence line. At the fence line the trail turns right and parallels that, don't go through the gap in the fence. Continue climbing along the fence line, eventually the trail turns right again because you come to another fence line.
Through here the trail is a bit rockier. This takes you along the edge of a meadow and eventually drops through the end of the meadow to a trail junction - make a left here onto the Turkey Nest Trail. This trail continues to climb up through the forest ending at the idyllic little "Sheetrock" Tank, a watering spot for cattle, and a rickety little bridge.
Turn left (really kind of straight from how you approached) to go around the left side of sheetrock on the Lost Lake Rim Trail
. This trail winds gradually up towards the edge of the mountains and eventually a spur to a well developed overlook. At this point you've done much of the climbing on the ride. A short climb back up from the overlook then winding trail that is gradually downhill through the forest takes you to the junction with the Smokin Handlebar Trail - take a left here (right would take you back to sheetrock tank). This bit of trail is a rockier and has short steep descents and climbs as it winds through a series of canyons. You'll come to another fence line that is the boundary to Fort Wingate. Ride parallel to this fence and pass through an open area that makes for good camping. There are a few large berms to ride over along the fence line and large cairns.
Keep your eyes open for the right turn onto the Berma Trail
- it seems like a doubletrack or jeep road to begin with. It is however a really sweet section of trail that rolls up and over or jumps many large built up earth berms as it rolls you down the hill back towards your car. The trail eventually turns right and makes a couple of short climbs to deposit you on the gravel road that leads back to the Hilso Trailhead about 100 yards away.