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Rift Valley Trail

 3.9 (45)

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


Shared By Paul Lowe


Minor Issues 1 day ago
Mostly Dry History

Getting forecast...

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

Paul Lowe

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-

Family Friendly Beginner/intermediate terrain, excellent views.


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.

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


Dec 13, 2018
Bill Marlowe
Snowed last night, was told trail wouldn’t be rideable. It was. Also super windy. Looked awesome! 0.5mi
Sep 10, 2018
Jul 23, 2018
Aubrey Last Name
Jul 22, 2018
Aubrey Last Name
Jul 15, 2018
Kevin Rosa
Jun 29, 2018
mike reade
Jun 25, 2018
Tom McKim
Jun 10, 2018
James DuMont
This was a great trail for my girlfriend (beginner-intermediate) and myself (advanced) to both enjoy. Flowing, rhythmic, amazing views.

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 45 votes


  3.9 from 45 votes
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in New Mexico


140 Views Last Month
9,679 Since Jun 16, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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
This is a fun trail that is fast with no significant elevation gains. Great for beginner mountain bikers. Took two beginners there today and nobody walked or wiped out. Great views of the Rift! The sun is kind of brutal, so bring lots of water and be off the trail by 10:00 am. Jul 20, 2018
Ski Bum  
Not terribly exhilarating, but a scenic place to go for a ride. Easy enough for beginners, so don't expect too much high speed or berms. Aug 21, 2018

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