The 10 Best Hikes In New Mexico That Should Be On Your Bucket List

Best hikes in new mexico

It's called the Land of Enchantment for a reason – it's no secret that New Mexico is breathtakingly beautiful. From the stunning architecture in Santa Fe, home to the oldest church in the US, to the vibrancy of cities like Albuquerque, which offers lots to do and see, it can be hard to create a trip itinerary for this state that covers all the best things to do in New Mexico. If one is looking to check more adventures off the bucket list but is worried about overlooking one of the best hike trails while exploring this beautiful state and its pretty towns, then this list offers some ideal reading. This guide highlights the top hiking trails in New Mexico to add to one's bucket list.

10 Aspen Vista Trail, Santa Fe

For a hiker looking for a lengthy yet leisurely hike, then this trail is one of the best things to do in Santa Fe. The Aspen Vista Trail is a whopping 11 miles long, but hikers who have had the pleasure of exploring this trail consistently rate it as beginner and family-friendly. This trail is located in the Santa Fe national park, which is about a 30-minute drive outside the city.

  • Distance: 11 Miles
  • Total Hiking Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

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9 Bisti Badlands Trail, Bloomfield

For a traveler looking for the world's most bizarre rock formations and unusual landscapes, then look no further than this hiking trail in Bloomfield. This is a relatively short trail that is revered for its otherworldly atmosphere. Despite the easy hiking conditions, this trail has no shade, marked trails or cell service. For a less experienced hiker, this trail would be a great opportunity to bring a friend along to share the magic of this beautiful desert land.

  • Distance: 5.5 Miles
  • Total Hiking Time: 1–3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

8 Bottomless Lakes State Park, Roswell

Despite the name, the nine beautiful bodies of water in Bottomless Lakes State Park are unusual; they aren't actually lakes! They're sinkholes that go up to 90 feet deep. It's easy to see how this park got its name, though; the sinkholes within this park look endless and are incredibly reflective. There are multiple trails within this park, including bike trails! These lakes are pretty far apart and there is a drivable path between most of them. This park is only 14 miles outside of Roswell and is the perfect place to watch the sunset after spending the day at the UFO museum, which is one of the many things to do as part of a full Roswell vacation itinerary.

7 Sierra Ladrones And Ladrones Peak, La Joya

This land has a variety of scenery, ranging from high mountain peaks to canyons. Something that makes this already challenging hike unique though is that there are no designated trails. Those who are brave enough to trek through this 8.9-mile journey are rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the surrounding mountainous area.

  • Distance: 8.9 Mile Loop
  • Total Hiking Time: Varies depending on the level explored
  • Difficulty: Hard

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6 Cave Creek Trail, Pecos Wilderness

Outside of Santa Fe lies these beautiful isolated caves and wandering creeks; prepare to be enchanted and charmed by this beautiful paradise lurking beside city life. Whether one spends a weekend in Santa Fe or a single day, this attraction always comes top for outdoorsy fans and nature lovers. Open to hiking, backpackers and camping, this is a stunning location to see during the summer and fall months.

  • Distance: 5 Miles
  • Total Hiking Time: 2.5-3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

5 Junction Cave, El Malpais National Monument

This hike is short but unforgettable. At Junction Cave, there is the opportunity to explore an underground world by venturing inside a 60,000-year-old lava tube. This is a breathtaking location, but it is for the experienced only and requires a caving permit.

  • Distance: 0.5 Miles
  • Total Hiking Time: 90 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Hard

4 Williams Lake Trail, Taos Ski Valley

For any traveler looking for a strenuous hike that gives views like no other, then the Williams Lake Trail is the place to visit. Although this hike starts with some difficult uphill hiking, hikers will be quickly rewarded with breathtaking mountain views and vast open skies. Try to stay long enough to watch the sunset or see the vast arrangement of stars visible at night.

  • Distance: 4.2 Mile
  • Total Hiking Time: 2 – 2.5 Hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

3 Trampas Lakes Trail, Llano

The Trampas Lakes Trail in Llano isn't a hike for the faint of heart; this 12.5-mile mammoth of a trail will reward any hiker up for the challenge with some legendary views if they can handle the journey there. This path is a popular choice for backpackers and campers and is ideal for an overnight hiking adventure.

  • Distance: 12.5 Mile
  • Total Hiking Time: 6 – 7 Hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

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2 Alkali Flat Trail

Contrary to the name, this location is anything but flat. Meet the Alkali Flat Trail, guaranteed to be a beautiful, unique, and potentially disorienting round trip through the desert. Here, travelers can find themselves surrounded by endless bright white sand dunes. Keep in mind that trail markers regularly get knocked over, which can make this trail more strenuous than it already is. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks and prepare to be amazed.

  • Distance: 5 Miles
  • Total Hiking Time: 2-3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

1 Gila Middle Fork River Trail

The most extreme hike in New Mexico has been saved until last. This adventure is nothing to scoff at; it is a 45-mile loop that takes an average of 3–5 days to hike through! This trail contains frequent river crossings and chances to off-branch, which can add to the total length of the adventure. Once hikers are able to overlook the distance required to hike this trail, it's not too difficult of a path! Comparable to an easy-to-moderate path, this is a perfect choice for any nature lovers who are looking for extended time outdoors.

  • Distance: 45 Miles+
  • Total Hiking Time: 3-5 Days
  • Difficulty: Moderate