Backpacking routes in New Mexico

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 27-April 3, 1996
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Backpacking routes in New Mexico
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Mountain biking on Maui
Beating the heat in Death Valley
Mellow canoe trips in the Northwest

Backpacking routes in New Mexico
Q: We are going to New Mexico and want to do some two- to four-day overnight backpacking trips. Any suggestions?

Paul G. Fischer
Minneapolis, MN
[email protected]

Tour the Tyuonyi Ruin before hitting
the backcountry in Bandelier
National Monument

A: Since Outside magazine happens to be in New Mexico, we're hip to a few of the stellar backcountry treks right here in our backyard.
A particular favorite is an 18-mile, two-day loop hike in Bandelier National Monument that starts and ends in tourist-infested Frijoles Canyon but then escapes into the monument's 23,000 acres of crowd-free wilderness. The trail takes you in and out of high-walled canyons and from dry piñon-juniper mesa tops to thick fir and ponderosa pine forests. From the visitor center, hike six miles along the Middle Alamo trail to the unexcavated pueblo of Yapashi and another two miles to the bottom of Capulin Canyon, where you can camp. On the return leg, take the Upper Alamo Trail to the Upper Crossing of the Frijoles for a final six-mile streamside jaunt.

A few things to remember: Pets are not allowed at the monument, and you'll need to get a free backcountry camping permit at the visitor center before you go. While you're there, you may also want to pick up Trails Illustrated's map of Bandelier and the Los Alamos Historical Society's A Guide to Bandelier National Monument, both $8.95. From Santa Fe, take U.S. 84/285 north 13 miles to New Mexico 502 and exit onto New Mexico 4, which will take you to the monument entrance. For more details, check out "America the Hoofable" in the Destinations section of our April 1996 issue.

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