MTB Project Logo

Rift Valley Trail

 37 votes

Length

12.6 Miles 20.4 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

Elevation

723' 220 m

Ascent

-723' -220 m

Descent

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

7,001' 2,134 m

High

6,682' 2,037 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 1 day ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

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

Paul Lowe

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.
Features: -none-
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.

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

You & this Featured Ride


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

May 17, 2018
Samuel Dudley
Really great ride for views and desert flow. Would recommend over Horsethief Mesa.
May 10, 2018
Speelyei
Fun, but a lot more gravel than I remember. Basically flat, but gets you breathing. Beautiful views. 12.6mi
May 4, 2018
Greg Weiss
May 4, 2018
Jim T
Mar 31, 2018
Tracie Wingo
Mar 5, 2018
Michael Adamczak
Feb 13, 2018
Matt Hage
Perfect ride with little one on my back.
Dec 2, 2017
Jean L

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 37 votes

#298

Overall
  3.8 from 37 votes
5 Star
16%
4 Star
54%
3 Star
24%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#6

in New Mexico

#298

Overall
328 Views Last Month
6,816 Since Jun 16, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

22%
72%
6%
0%
0%
0%

 
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

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter