Best bet for mid to late March?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best bet for mid to late March?

    Hello NMers - I知 planning a road trip through the 4 corners states from mid March to mid-April. Looks like I値l be in NM toward the end of March. Planning on hitting Taos and Santa Fe, but nothing is off the table. Would love to know what is rideable that time of year and what trails I shouldn稚 miss. I知 from Santa Cruz, CA and I知 in to everything from XC to DH. Thx!!

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    Really hard to say, looks like we are finally getting some winter. But it could all be gone by March.
    "Mi amor Nuevo Mi駻coles!"

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  3. #3
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    Hard to predict anything about the weather these days I guess. What would you recommend independent of the weather.m? I知 just trying to figure out where to focus my planning. I知 totally unfamiliar with the area and just looking for an idea of what the locals consider to be the 堵reatest hits when it comes to NM MTB trails/areas. Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    What trails do you like in Santa Cruz?

    UCSC, Nisene Marks, Soquel?

    Going to be hard to match those rides here, but at least our trails will be very different from your home trails. What bike are bringing with you?

    If you make it down to ABQ I'd push you towards the Sandias and Otero.
    For Santa Fe I'd say REM, Atalaya and Winsor
    Not very familiar with Taos other than South Boundary and if that is rideable in April we are f***ed

    Depending on your route you would be passing by some great riding opportunities that you should look into. St. George, Moab, Durango, Flagstaff, Sedona are all en route.
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  5. #5
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    Gallup is on your route, the High Desert Trail System will be likely good unless it's snowing or raining.
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    Given that winter is finally doing something, I'd be a little surprised if Rio en Medio are open Windsor. Same with South Boundary. La Tierra, Galileo, and Dale Ball should be better in Santa Fe, but snow is always a possibility. Glorieta miiight be a possibility, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's muddy/closed. ABQ/Gallup is probably a better bet. I'm usually thinking of Moab in mid-March.

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    Thanks guys. This is all great info.

    I ride UCSC the most here in SC because it痴 right next to my house. I値l be bringing my Nomad and possibly my Tues if there痴 DH options.

    Definitely hitting Sedona, Flagstaff and Moab en route.


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    We are heading out to Santa Fe on March 17 with the family. We went this time last year and had crazy good weather (like 70 degree weather). We rode La Tierra quite a bit, but I'd love to branch out. I'm assuming that Windsor is too snowy/muddy to ride this time of year again? (It was last year, and there had been less snow and more drying then).

    Any other suggestions? Hearing a lot of buzz about Glorietta, and I know some of our Arkansas trailbuilding/riding was up there working with Jagged Axe a month or so ago.

    Also, does anyone have any info on the Sunday kids ride that the local IMBA group does? We have a crew of young riders and would love to hook them up with other kids in the area.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    We are heading out to Santa Fe on March 17 with the family. We went this time last year and had crazy good weather (like 70 degree weather). We rode La Tierra quite a bit, but I'd love to branch out. I'm assuming that Windsor is too snowy/muddy to ride this time of year again? (It was last year, and there had been less snow and more drying then).

    Any other suggestions? Hearing a lot of buzz about Glorietta, and I know some of our Arkansas trailbuilding/riding was up there working with Jagged Axe a month or so ago.

    Also, does anyone have any info on the Sunday kids ride that the local IMBA group does? We have a crew of young riders and would love to hook them up with other kids in the area.
    As you make mention, weather can be great! OR you could get snowed on. Hard to say.

    With that said, current conditions on the upper mountain are a no-go. The best you'll do (and still a great ride) is to check out the Chamisa/Sidewinder/Juan loop and possibly explore the Burn trail. Likewise, any major loop in Dale Ball is quite good riding and should be good to go.

    Glorieta has a mix of XC to very technical/fast trails. If they're up for it, they are great riding.

    The kids rides are open to the public as long as they sign the insurance waiver. I'd imagine they would love to have a group to share a ride with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandy Mclovin View Post
    If you want to take a drive to Abq, our forest are pretty dry below 8k'. I rode all over Otero yesterday, and there is very little moisture to speak of.
    Speaking of ABQ, is North Valley worth visiting with more to offer than La Tierra? My son is pretty into bike parks and has both a BMX and a MTB, so he's pushing to hit up North Valley.

    Also: we thought it might be kind of fun to take the RailRunner down from Santa Fe with our bikes then hit up North Valley. Not sure if that's feasible or not as i haven't really looked into logistics of riding around or using public transit to ferry our bikes (if it's too far from RailRunner station).

  11. #11
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    La tierra is great. I live in cruces and I'd drive to Santa fe just to ride those trails again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandy Mclovin View Post
    It's been a while, but I don't think our bike park can hold a candle to La Tierra. Those folks are a very dedicated bunch from what I understand. If you add that La Tierra was all hand built by the people who ride it, well that is an even bigger clue. The North Valley Bike Park was designed and built by a contractor, so it's probably a little more beginner friendly if that is what you are looking for.
    We loved La Tierra. Hustle and Flow is absolutely awesome. When we were at La Tierra last year, a lot of the jump lines in the "park" area were covered, so it wasn't really rideable. My son is into BMX/DJ stuff, so he's wanting to hit somewhere that he can session some jumps, and it looks like North Valley might have that from the pics, if it's open.

    I will say that La Tierra is a stinking maze. My son and I were riding, and my wife and older son were both hiking. I ducked out to ride some longer trail and my younger was supposed to stay with the hikers on his bike. He ended up getting ahead of them and missing a turnoff back to the trailhead. I then caught up with the hikers to find that he was nowhere in sight. He ended up lost for almost an hour. Sherriff's office came. They were about to launch a helicopter when I found him.

    It's not a really big area and not that remote, so I wan't panicking too badly... but a 9 year old learned a very valuable lesson about trailforks and staying with the adults that day.

  13. #13
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    If you like La Tierra, also try the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

    Similar sort of desert riding, but much nicer vistas and general area. Really feel remote with good signage and a few technical obstacles.

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    I'm guessing he meant that the jump lines had carpet on them. That's there to prevent massive erosion during snow/monsoon events.

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    Yeah, there was carpet, but it also seems like there was visqueen or tarps as well (which is what our local DJ park puts on their jumps during rainy season when the park is closed), but maybe I'm misremembering. We rode a couple of lines in that area, but a lot of it looked like it wasn't really meant to be ridden if I recall correctly.

    I just assumed it was "wet" season, and it wasn't really supposed to be ridden at that time (which is why I was asking about the park in ABQ).

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    Just wanted to jump in as my buddy and I were planning on driving down to NM for a few days at the end of March as well. So far I have gathered that is is all weather dependent, but will Glorieta most likely be open? And can anyone tell me the best way to ride/get access? I emailed the church camp and haven't heard back from them.

    What will have better riding at that time SF or ABQ? Or will both be ok and we should hit up both?

    Thanks for the info!!!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Just wanted to jump in as my buddy and I were planning on driving down to NM for a few days at the end of March as well. So far I have gathered that is is all weather dependent, but will Glorieta most likely be open? And can anyone tell me the best way to ride/get access? I emailed the church camp and haven't heard back from them.

    What will have better riding at that time SF or ABQ? Or will both be ok and we should hit up both?

    Thanks for the info!!!
    On Saturdays they usually have someone at the the gate and you can go in, otherwise use the new 'bypass' trail that gives you acccess. Download trailforks, everything is up to date both in Santa fe and Glorieta Camps.

    GC is proper good trails and the stuff around Santa Fe (Dale Ball South, Upper Mountain) is all great as well. Right now I'd say you have a solid chance that all but the highest elevation stuff should be open.

  18. #18
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    Did you all stay dry? From what I can tell on Accuweather it looks like ABQ is going to stay dry. I don't know how that translates into the trails and mountains.

    Thanks for the info

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    We've arrived, and the weather is glorious today. I started driving at 2am and we got here at 1pm. Stopped at grocery then immediately hit La Tierra (10 minute drive from our AirBNB on Canyon Road). Youngest and I did about 10 runs in a slopestyle area right by Frijoles parking lot while wife and eldest had lunch. So much fun!

    Looks like weather turns tomorrow and Monday, but the rest of the week looks awesome.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    We've arrived, and the weather is glorious today. I started driving at 2am and we got here at 1pm. Stopped at grocery then immediately hit La Tierra (10 minute drive from our AirBNB on Canyon Road). Youngest and I did about 10 runs in a slopestyle area right by Frijoles parking lot while wife and eldest had lunch. So much fun!

    Looks like weather turns tomorrow and Monday, but the rest of the week looks awesome.
    Best bet for mid to late March?-screen-shot-2018-03-18-7.22.29-am.jpg

    Trail conditions on the Winsor are still variable. Pack ice on the river crossings down low and snow packed and/or muddy in places up higher. But, it not bad. I recommend riding from Tesuque up to the Borrego down the Bear Wallow and back out the Winsor. I am not sure of the conditions above Borrego and below Big Tesuque on the Winsor/Dead Deer. Might be snowy and muddy in spots up there. I avoid places known for being muddy at this time of the year as its not good for the trail to ride them.

    Chamisa/the Juan/Sidewinder is riding great. Careful of the cars driving up the ski basin road on this loop.

    All the Dale Ball stuff is good to go. Atalaya up the face is good with one or two spots in the shade that are a little mucky. Atalaya via Picachio is good to go with the last section going up Atalaya on the east slope having a little junkiness, but not too bad. Secret Agent, which includes a good bit of this on the front end, is good to go. There are a couple of smushy spots on SA, but its ready for you.

    I haven't ridden anything near Rio en Medio/Discount/Double Discount/Jawbone for months so I have no idea what these conditions are like.

    Glorieta Camps is in great condition. Only problem out there is that it can be a little challenging to find the great trails if you don't know the place.

    I don't know what Los Alamos is riding like right now, but they are lower elevation (less snow) so it could be good. Reports from ABQ sound good too.

    Download Trailforks onto you phone and that way you will know exactly where you are for all the great rides around here. Even Glorieta Camps are on it.

    Welcome to town and have fun! See you on the trails (when I pass you! haha!!)
    Last edited by beastmaster; 03-18-2018 at 07:54 PM.

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    If it's ok, I'm going to piggy back off this but a couple of friends are wanting to come out and ride Winsor the 2nd week in April. What's a decent place to see trail conditions?

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    Anything to update? I see it rained today, but should be warm the rest of the week, so thinking hero dirt or at least good dirt. We will be getting to NM on Friday, hopefully early.

    Thinking maybe ride La Tierra trails when we get in. This includes the Winsor trails/Dale Bale stuff everyone keeps mentioning correct? Or I guess they are close by?

    Then Saturday hit up Glorieta trails.

    Sunday, maybe finish off what we couldn't get around the area and head home.

    Or should we head to ABQ for anything? What is the best to ride around that area?

    Also almost as important, any free or good places to camp and the best food. Love me some green chili and as spicy as it can be made.

    Thanks
    Last edited by yourrealdad; 03-28-2018 at 07:37 AM.

  23. #23
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    Hi guys,

    We got a nice mix of rain/snow yesterday, so aside from this morning I would imagine the trails will be in nice shape the coming days. Winsor is somewhat clear below the Big T trail junction, but conditions are variable with mud, snow patches and ice on water crossings. Chamisa, Sidewinder (Saddleback) and Dale Balls trails should all be riding very nicely.

    La Tierra is it's own trail network away from the mountains, Winsor is in the mountains proper, they are well apart. You can find good trail info here; Mountain Bike Trails Santa Fe NM

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Glorieta Camps is in great condition. Only problem out there is that it can be a little challenging to find the great trails if you don't know the place.
    What's the most recommended trail to get up to Broken Arrow? Would it be Ghost Town, Secret, or something else? Thanks!

  25. #25
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    Ghost town. You can ride about 75% of it, then there's a lot of hike a bike with both trails starting at the base of the Fire Lookout. Not sure last time it was cleared, but when I rode it there was a lot of downed trees up and down.

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    Klain thanks for the response, do you know of much in the ABQ area? I am actually thinking head there first if it is worth riding cause SF is supposed to be windy Friday then head to SF Saturday to do Glorieta, Sunday ride La Tierra or Dales/Winsor and that puts us closer to home going back on I-25 to CO

  27. #27
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    There's excellent riding in ABQ, South foothills, Otero Canyon & Tunnel, all good. It should all be clear as well. I'd recommend parking at the lower Otero TH off the Tijeras highway, climbing the Otero Canyon up and making a loop and descending down Birdhouse. Birdhouse, IMO, is one of the most underrated, but best descents in NM.

    In SF, Db south (although straight up and straight down) has more technical riding while central and north are prime 'trail' style trails. Lots of good variety. Chamisa/Sidewinder loop (park at the bottome of the dip of the highway heading towards the ski basin--you'll see cars there) and climbing to Chamisa, climb Sidewinder, descend, hang a left on Juan trail, left on Burn and back to the car is a great 45m-1h loop that has good variety as well.

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    Awesome!! Thank you for all the good beta. I am super stoked for this trip. If I see you on the trails I owe you a beer.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Awesome!! Thank you for all the good beta. I am super stoked for this trip. If I see you on the trails I owe you a beer.
    Hey not a problem, it's always fun to view our 'local' trails through visitors eyes. Report back and let us know what you found. I highly, highly recommend installing Trailforks and using that over the REI app. Seems more accurate here.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Awesome!! Thank you for all the good beta. I am super stoked for this trip. If I see you on the trails I owe you a beer.
    To add to Klain:

    The tunnel/otero/three bottles area is a great set of stacked loops that really can be put together in a lot of different ways. Lately I've been riding tunnel/tunero, blue ribbon (some fun technical climbing), drop-in, Cajun pine, three bottles (which has some great technical riding), and either gnasty w/ag or upper otero (on the base so not legit but great flow and some pretty good sized gap jumps) to lower otero (which is also good flow with little bits of tech thrown in), then climbing back up tunero and taking the west ridge connector to birdhouse (which I agree is a great descent). It's about 16 to 17 miles/2000 feet and takes me 2 to 2.5 hours moving time.

    But really, just take a look at the map figure out which sections you want to hit in which direction, and put some loops/figure 8s together. Hard to go wrong our there.

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  31. #31
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    Sweet info thank you. Also downloaded Trailforks last night so set on that

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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    Anything to update? I see it rained today, but should be warm the rest of the week, so thinking hero dirt or at least good dirt. We will be getting to NM on Friday, hopefully early.

    Thinking maybe ride La Tierra trails when we get in. This includes the Winsor trails/Dale Bale stuff everyone keeps mentioning correct? Or I guess they are close by?
    As others said, La Tierra is its own thing. Not sure what kind of riding you like to do, but it has some really great free ride lines by Las Frijoles trailhead. There's also a pretty gnarly jump park near that. Hustle and Flow is a great flow line that's worth doing a few times. It's a crazy network of trails, but you can hit most of the trails in a day if you enjoy pedaling. My kids prefer to just session the free ride area lines, but I like to get out and pedal, so I'll run some trails while they hang in the park.

    Also almost as important, any free or good places to camp and the best food. Love me some green chili and as spicy as it can be made.
    My favorite food places in Santa Fe:
    Tesuque Village Market (a little outside, but close to La Tierra)
    The Shed or La Choza (sister restaurants)
    Tomasita's
    Shake Foundation
    Pasqual's

    Beer:
    Obviously if you get to ABQ, La Cumbre is top notch. Marble and Bow and Arrow are also good.

    In Santa Fe, we really liked Rowley's Farmhouse Ales (they also have good food). 2nd Street and Santa Fe Brewery are okay. Not as good as Rowley's, imo.

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    This is all perfect, except I need more time!!! Thank you all for such good beta. If you ever come up north and need info let me know

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    I'll second all of Hogly's suggestions. Foodwise he's on point!

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    Hey all, I'm also taking a short trip out to Santa Fe to see the in-laws this upcoming week. I'm planning on renting a bike and getting out Monday and Tuesday mornings. Having researched through this thread has given me lots of good ideas about what to hit. I'm definitely checking out Dale Ball one day, then trying to decide whether to do a second day at DB or check La Tierra the other. Is Dale Ball worth spending multiple days exploring? Also, are the loops (north and central) best done clockwise or counter clockwise? Thanks in advance, if ya'll ever hit the Bay Area I'm happy to guide!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klainmeister View Post
    I'll second all of Hogly's suggestions. Foodwise he's on point!
    That's comforting. LOL

    We've been coming to Santa Fe and New Mexico almost yearly for 10 years now (we used to live in Colorado). We made 2 trips last year alone. Just returned from Spring Break and will probably stay over this summer when we spend a month on the road exploring/biking/hiking the West. Our kids are now growing up loving the area as well. I'm not convinced that we won't eventually move out there (cost of living, income inequality and public schools don't compare favorably to Arkansas, though). Still, we love the place, but we always worry that we're still basically eating at "tourist" joints despite being pretty convinced that we know the food and drink scene fairly well.

    Did eat out at Rancho de Chimayo for the first time this last visit, and it was a pretty cool experience. The problem with "upscale" New Mexican food is that you can probably find a cheap dive that does it equally well and for half the price (which is also one of the things we love: so much damned good food for cheap).

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    I think there's enough in Dale Ball to do two days easy if you want to stay close to Santa Fe. I will say that we hiked a trail on Dale Ball South, and it wasn't something I would do on a bike (especially with kids). I talked to a guy at Mellow Velo, and he said Dale Ball North is much "better" riding. That being said, I haven't ridden either of them, so someone with more knowledge will, no doubt, chime in.

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    Dale Ball is probably best read in terms of technical/steepness/challenge South to North meaning farther South the more dificult and the more you move North it levels out.

    Yes, some places are overpriced, but you pay for the atmosphere. Places like Posa's are my go-to if I just want the food and take it home, etc.

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    So I just have to say thank you for all the help.
    Friday: We got into ABQ at 2:30 am Friday morning. Ate breakfast at Frontier (great greasy spoon people watching) then went and rode Tunnel, Westridge, Upper Otero, Gnasty, New Flow, Blue Ribbon, Otero. I guess I didn't read well enough because it sounds like we should have come down Birdhouse. Upper Otero was super sweet and so was Blue ribbon. Ironically the New Flow trail didn't really flow?

    Went to Owl for Dinner. One of if not the best shakes I have had (Holy Grail). I ordered the Green Chile Burger and it was ok, but my buddies adovada burrito was amazing and too much food for all of us. Nachos were huge.

    Decided to camp up above all those trails Friday night. My buddies rack broke though which started the murphy's law effect. The next morning they drove into ABQ and I rode down Rabbit Run and Powerline to get to HWY 333. Whew were they intense!! Trails looke like straight gnarly DH trails. Super fun though. Also I think I saw a wolf? Is that possible? I know they reintroduced the Mexican Grey. If not it was the biggest damn coyote in the world.
    Topped Friday off by going to La Cumbre. Cool brewery for sure.

    Saturday: So the coolest part of the trip came as I was riding an enduro rig on 333 into ABQ. So many road bikers were riding up the HWY I thought there must have been a race. I would say 80% of them all took their hands off their bars to wave to me on the other side of the hwy. I can't even get bikers on the bike path in CO to give a nod back to me even when we are both roadies. My friends and I talked about it the whole trip, everyone we met in NM was so friendly and nice. All the bikers helped us with which trails to ride and how to ride them etc. It was great. CO needs to take note.

    So after getting a new rack and knowing my brand new bike needed a bleed in Santa Fe we just decided to ride White Ridge trails. It was a super cool geological ride. Trail was nothing special, but the landscape was so cool. So we dropped my bike off at Rob and Charlie's who were great enough to squeeze me in on a Saturday and give us some more good beta.
    Ate at Horseman's Haven and tried all of the green chiles including #5. Love me some spicy food and it didn't disappoint.
    Hit up Meow Wolf for some hipster fun. It was awesome!! Then went to Duel and it was meh. Probably should have gone to Rowleys or Second Street, but it was right there and we thought we would have time for Second street later.
    Dinner was at Pasqual's and I have to agree that we probably could have gotten better NM food for 1/4 the price, but maybe I just didn't order right, but we all agreed that it was probably the least liked meal and easily the most expensive.

    Sunday: Ate at The Pantry. It was amazing food and super great service. Wanted to hit up some other places, but it was Easter. Pantry was awesome though. Adovada burrito and sopapillas FTW.
    Drove to Glorieta and rode Hole Mole, Chili Dog, and Jagged Axe. The trails are super great and our favorites of the trip. Best part is pretty much no one was there, maybe cause of Easter, but we met a couple that lives across the hwy and they said it is always like that.

    So super awesome trip. Great trails, great food, great people. Thank you all for the help. We need to come back and explore what we missed and even what we rode.

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    lol, the new flow trail has been dubbed the 'No Flow' Trail. Agree 100% on your breakdown. I would like to know what trails you managed to find without any help in upper Otero. My guess is that you did not find all of them without some help.

    Anyway, glad you got a 'taste' of NM. I should probably hit up some of those trails in Glorieta On anther note, I've never ridden the 'interior' of Colorado. I rarely ever get much further North than Chama. So much high alpine goodness between here and there, it's hard to justify.

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    FWIW, I usually go up Tunnel (or BH), down to Otero, up Blue, down Gnasty upper Otero, Pick it UP, down Bloodline, up Old Bando, up Vans (to the new log ride) to West Boundary, over to Cajun, 3-bottles, No Flow, Drop In double track, Drop In singletrack, B-Flo, down Otero and back out via BH or Tunnel. I call it "The Scramble."

  42. #42
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    We made it to the top of Westridge and went back into the stuff. Then we ran into a guy and he showed us where to come down Upper Otero. Then we just asked a guy what we should do next and he said to go up Gnasty to get to the No Flow and BR.

    Come up to CO, we have some great trails going on.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
    We made it to the top of Westridge and went back into the stuff. Then we ran into a guy and he showed us where to come down Upper Otero. Then we just asked a guy what we should do next and he said to go up Gnasty to get to the No Flow and BR.

    Come up to CO, we have some great trails going on.
    Hmmm...that does not tell me much. There are a few nice log rides in there, a couple pretty good (but short) flow trails, and a couple of feeder canyon runs with drops, jumps, etc... Sorry you missed out on 3-bs. Seems you would have really enjoyed that particular trail.

    If you really want to go big, but in a more primitive shuttle type setting, there are some fun DH specific courses on the backside of Sandia proper. It should be good to go by this weekend.

  44. #44
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    Well, I finished up my 3 days of riding Santa Fe, and came away pretty impressed. Monday I hit up DB central and north loop, Tuesday went out to La Tierra, and Wednesday did the Chamisa/Sidewinder loop. All in all its awesome you guys have such variations in trails so close to town (I was able to ride to the trails from where I was staying). Highlights were Hustle and Flow, DB central drainage downhill, and my favorite trail by far- Sidewinder! I didn't hear much or read much much about that trail, and figured it'd be more of the same DB style xc downhill back to the car. Boy was I wrong, that was super fun, use your travel, downhill chunk! Where can I find more trails like that in the area the next time I'm in town?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gigi View Post
    ..that was super fun, use your travel, downhill chunk! Where can I find more trails like that in the area the next time I'm in town?
    You need to come to Los Alamos next time!

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    Here is a ride we did in Otero over the weekend. It pretty much encapsulates almost everything in Otero from 3-bottles/Cajun entrance all the way back to Tunnel. The only trail we missed was a short section of West Ridge between the boundary and Birdhouse, and the only section of trail we hit twice was the Tunnel/Otero connector (Tunnero - I'm still not sure why they changed than name?)


    Best bet for mid to late March?-oteroscramble.jpg

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