This is a scenic and fun trail through rolling high elevation terrain, utilizing old forest roads as well as singletrack. Much of the Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico is unmapped and some sections of the established route haven't been built yet, the singletrack sections of this segment were built a few years ago.
Most of the trail is recognizable, but signage is minimal so look 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 segment begins at the southwest corner of the Hopewell Lake Campground off of US 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarillo. The easiest access point is where the trail crosses Forest Road 42B, 0.9 miles from the highway. Here, there are dispersed campsites and plenty of parking if you don't want to use the fee areas. You can ride back to the campground and loop onto the trail or bypass the first section which climbs from the campground to Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B)
At the campground, there is a sign with a CDT marker. Follow the trail across a meadow then climb a short ways to FR 42B. Cross the road onto a spur road and follow the markers past the dispersed campsites for 0.2 miles; the singletrack begins here.
The first 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, and 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 descending traverse across an open meadow with rolling drainages before dropping onto Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B)
at a junction with FR 450. This is the end of the Hopewell segment, the next segment, which may not be completely built yet, begins across FR 450 and heads towards US Highway 84 near Abiquiu.