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Rift Valley Trail

Intermediate
 4.0 (60) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

12.6

Miles

20.4

KM

90%

Singletrack

7,001' 2,134 m

High

6,682' 2,037 m

Low

723' 220 m

Up

723' 220 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Family Friendly Beginner/intermediate terrain, excellent views.

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul Lowe with improvements by Shari Heier

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 60 votes

#212

Overall
  4.0 from 60 votes
5 Star
30%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in New Mexico

#212

Overall
350 Views Last Month
13,567 Since Jun 16, 2015
Intermediate

25%
0%
74%
0%
2%
0%

Photos

Rift Valley Trail during November
Nov 23, 2017 near Ranchos…, NM
Some downhill segments of flowy singletrack.
Jun 17, 2015 near Ranchos…, NM
Rio Grande River below.
Jul 9, 2016 near Ranchos…, NM
Great views and interesting vegetation to someone from the Southeast
Aug 13, 2018 near Ranchos…, NM
This is a wonderful trail with beautiful scenery
Aug 13, 2018 near Ranchos…, NM
Cruising up one of the slight hills
Aug 13, 2018 near Ranchos…, NM

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 8 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jun 14, 2020
Lost Justpastnowhere
May 23, 2020
Lily Conrad
Apr 29, 2020
Dylan Sim
Mar 7, 2020
mat deGraaf
Aug 18, 2019
Jon Wintheiser
Nice easy ride with wide open views. Really exposed (no trees) so I wouldn't do this one on a hot day 12mi — 1h 45m
Aug 4, 2019
Mackenzie Sheehy
Aug 4, 2019
A Cvi
Jun 9, 2019
Aaron Kikola
First mtb ride. Ate it 3 times. Puked once. Successful day.