This is a scenic and fun trail through rolling high elevation terrain, utilizing old forest roads as well as singletrack. Much of the established Continental Divide Trail route through New Mexico is primitive; the Hopewell Trail's singletrack sections were built a few years ago.
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 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 CDT crosses the Burned Mountain Trail (Forest Road 91B)
, 0.9 miles from the highway (due to old surveys, the first half mile 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, and you can ride back to the campground and loop onto the trail if you don't want to bypass the first section.
In the campground, there is a signpost with a CDT marker. The trail crosses a meadow then winds through the forest as it climbs to 91B. Cross onto a spur road and follow the markers past the dispersed campsites for 0.2 miles - the singletrack begins here.
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, this is the end of the Hopewell Trail segment***.
***The CDT: New Mexico Segment 29 continues across FR 450 and will eventually connect to Highway 110, though it currently does not. The end of this trail as mapped here is rideable, but conditions beyond FR 450 are more raw and less signed. There is also a closure along the nearby Canjilon Lakes Campground due to falling trees. Riders should be aware of these factors and prepared for young-trail conditions before continuing south.