This is a scenic and fun trail through rolling, high-elevation terrain on mostly singletrack with some old logging roads used as connectors. While much of the Continental Divide Trail route through New Mexico is primitive, the section south of Hopewell is currently more utilized and smoother riding.
While most of the trail is recognizable, signage is minimal, so look closely for the CDT markers along the way or use the MTB Project mobile app
. There are a couple trail junctions that can be confusing but are marked. The Tres Piedras Ranger District has area maps, and they always seem enthusiastic to share information.
This trail begins at Hopewell Lake Day Use Area off of US-64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarillo. Park here (fee) or access it where the CDT crosses the Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B
), 0.9 miles from the highway (due to old surveys, the first 0.5 miles of 91B is also shown as 42B on some maps). There are dispersed campsites and plenty of parking if you don't want to use the fee areas.
Leaving the Day Use area, the trail climbs through the forest and crosses a meadow before entering the campground. Look for sign posts exiting the south end of the campground loop, where the trail continues to Forest Road 91B
The next section is a gradual climb where scattered rocks and some roots require a bit of technical maneuvering, then a brief sprint along a doubletrack before transitioning to singletrack for the descent - smooth and flowing in places, rocky and bumpy in others. With a couple flat sections where the trail is sunk into the earth, the trail meanders through old mining prospects, grazing meadows and forest roads before dropping into an aspen grove.
Eight curvy switchbacks precede a fast descending traverse across an open meadow with rolling drainages before dropping onto the Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B
) above the junction where FR 450 heads northwest. Many people turn back here, while others continue south to Canjilon Lakes Campground and beyond.
As you get further from Hopewell Lake, the trail gets less use, and can be hard to follow in spots. New trail was added in 2018-19, and there may be additional re-routes in the next few months. These will be signed. (When in conflict, follow the CDT signs).