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This absolute bruiser of a climb reveals stunning views of the Espanola Valley and Jemez Mountains.


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Map Key

32.3

Miles

52.0

KM

Doubletrack

10,962' 3,341 m

High

5,745' 1,751 m

Low

5,877' 1,791 m

Up

1,279' 390 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Commonly Bikepacked · Views

Upper section may be unrideable in the winter due to high elevation.

Need to Know

You can park at the Espanola MVD. This is a safe location because it's next to the police department. There are no water sources for the entire duration so bring all you'll need.

Description

This ride starts where Santa Clara Peak Rd ends and turns to gravel road. Stay on FR144 the entire way and don't take any deviations. The first six miles is a well-maintained gravel road with several punchy but manageable climbs. The views from the top of the first plateau will keep you excited to see more. Keep cautious of semi-trucks driving on the road between the gravel pit and Espanola. Once you pass the gravel pit, there is nearly zero traffic for the rest of the ride.

From mile 7.5-9, you'll ride away from the desert and start reaching the higher elevations. The vegetation turns from sagebrush and cacti to ponderosa pines and juniper. During this stretch, there are great places to stop for a rest and snack before beginning the next big push.

From mile 9-12, there is a sustained climb off the plateau and into the mountains. At the end of the climb, there are stunning views of the Espanola Valley and Chicoma Mountain. This is the mountain that 31 Mile Road will take you to. You are also rewarded with a fun and chunky descent with great views the entire way. At mile 17, when the descent turns into a climb, this is a good place to turn around if you don't want to ride the whole trail. After mile 17, it is a rough and sustained climb the rest of the way.

Mile 17-28.5 is the big climb of this ride. You'll gain most of your elevation quickly so get used to going uphill. Once you climb high enough, you'll be greeted with excellent views of the Abiquiu area and foothills of the Jemez Mountains to the north. The temperature will start to drop the higher up you go so bring a jacket or warmer layer if you intend to spend more time at the higher elevations.

Be cautious of your water because there are no water sources the entire duration of the ride. Be alert to the wildlife in the higher elevations. There are black bears and mountain lions that live there. Bringing bear spray and a bell is a good idea.

At mile 28.5, you'll summit the pass. While reaching the pass is a great achievement, it is a tad bit anti-climactic. If you descend after the pass, you'll ride across some vistas looking south into the Valle Caldera and eventually be able to see Cerro Pedernal up north. You can stay on FR144 and eventually link up to the GDMBR if you wish.

The descent back to Espanola is very quick and technical in spots. A bike with suspension is recommended but this route can be done on a rigid bike. The entire descent is very chunky so give yourself time to get back.

Contacts

Shared By:

DeArmond Lopez

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#3

in Española

#21772

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#3

in Española

#491

in New Mexico

#21,772

Overall
29 Views Last Month
721 Since Jun 1, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

The view of Chicoma Mountain from the end of Polvadera Road
Jun 2, 2021 near Los Alamos, NM
Looking down upon Espanola after the first big climb
Jun 1, 2021 near Los Alamos, NM
The view towards Redondo Peak from the end of Polvadera Road
Jun 2, 2021 near Los Alamos, NM

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