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Rift Valley Trail

 34 votes


12.6 Miles 20.4 Kilometers




723' 220 m


-723' -220 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (5°)

7,001' 2,134 m


6,682' 2,037 m



All Clear 16 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

This is a beginner trail that is also a lot of fun for advanced riders.

Paul Lowe


This trail is almost 100% tight, winding singletrack. You'll be pedaling almost the entire time. No big climbs or big descents. You'll ride along the Rio Grande Rift Valley. It is one of only two places in the world you can witness a rift valley (the other one is in Africa). You can also see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance.
Family Friendly: Beginner/intermediate terrain, excellent views.
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

Desert riding, so bring water. The Rio Grande is a long way down. Trailhead on State Rd. 68, but a better ride from the trailhead at 110.


This ride can be done clockwise or counterclockwise. This description is written from the clockwise perspective. It is well marked and there are other trails you can add to the ride.

Follow the sign for the Rift Valley Trail from the 110 trailhead. There is a sign for a hiking trail that will take you to the bottom of the rift valley and there is another trail that takes you to an overlook, avoid these.

You'll start with a doubletrack downhill. You'll cross over some rolling hills and find the Rift Valley Trail crossing the doubletrack. Turn left (toward 68) following the sign and start a gradual climb. Stay left at the intersection with Floodplain Trail toward the 68 trailhead. Once at the 68 trailhead, turn right following the Rift Valley Trail.

You'll start a gradual descent past Floodplain Trail ending at Escarpment Trail. Hang a left at Escarpment Trail and start ascending. You'll cross over La Gijosa Trail along with some rolling hills. Stay left at the crossing with Sediment Trail. Then turn right and descend toward the Rio Grande Gorge.

You'll then turn north along the rim of the gorge. There are some short punchy climbs and views of the valley below. Stop and check out the Taos Junction Bridge and people watch of those enjoying the river below.

You'll come back to the intersection with the doubletrack that you turned left on. Stay straight to do the loop again, try out some other trails, or turn left back to the trailhead where you began.

History & Background

The Rio Grande works its way through the rift valley below. This is one of only two places in the world where you can find a rift valley. For more details about what that is, check out the BLM webpage.


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Your Check-Ins


Mar 5, 2018
Michael Adamczak
Feb 13, 2018
Matt Hage
Perfect ride with little one on my back.
Dec 2, 2017
Jean L
Nov 19, 2017
Mark Solari
Sep 17, 2017
mike waite
great fall weather, dry conditions 10.2mi — 2h 00m
Sep 15, 2017
Gus Friedman
Sep 6, 2017
David Darling
Had Lupe the trail shredder pooch with me
Sep 3, 2017
Devren Hobbs

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 34 votes


  3.8 from 34 votes
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in New Mexico


229 Views Last Month
6,173 Since Jun 16, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate


Delightful, non-technical singletrack with flowy sections and few mini-climbs. Good introduction to desert mountain biking. Take water. Best in early evening or dusk to avoid the heat of day as there is little to no shade. Great views of the gorge/Orillo Verde campground. Sep 21, 2015

DO NOT ride when wet! The clay will add 50 pounds to your bike and your wheels won't turn and you'll clean your bike for an hour. I'll be back when it's dry. May 16, 2016
With limited characters for comment, I'll say that I am a complete beginner mtbiker, and this trail was recommended by numerous people. Put simply, I had an awful time, breaking down in tears of frustration more than once. Definitely for beginners looking to advance to intermediate. Will maybe try again when I have better skills, but maybe cut length in half from one trail head to other. Oct 29, 2016

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