Wednesday, May 20, 2015

After hiking the Coyote Call Trail, we headed south on Hwy. 4 to hike the Las Conchas Trail before returning to ABQ. Due to road construction, only one lane was open near the trail head, so we had to wait for the “Follow Me” truck to come back. Once we arrived at the trail head, we simply dropped out of the “Follow Me” line of cars, drove across the road construction, and parked.

Having passed this trail head a number of times, I knew this area was beautiful, but didn’t realize just how beautiful until we got down on the trail. This place is gorgeous! The trail runs along, and crisscrosses, the East Fork of the Jemez River for the entire length of the trail. And on every river crossing there is a footbridge built just for this purpose, and there are a number of river crossings/footbridges.

The trail and river run through a narrow canyon, which is both peaceful and scenic, with numerous shady places to stop and have lunch. Apparently, this canyon is a practice area for rock climbers because we spotted a couple at the very beginning of our hike and passed a few more climbers a little further down the trail.

Not sure how, but after hiking in a ways, and after crossing every bridge we came to, we ended up on the wrong side of the river and ran out of trail. I’m still confused as to how that happened. We had to backtrack a short way, but instead of hiking back until we found the bridge we shouldn’t have crossed, we decided to cross over using a log that was laying across the river. I didn’t have a problem, but it wasn’t so easy for Marty, my hiking buddy. I won’t tell you whether he made it across without getting wet, but his log crossing experience is in the hiking video, below.

This hike is the perfect place to bring the family or visitors because it is short and easy with virtually no climbing. There are numerous shady places to stop, all of them peaceful and picturesque. Just hike in as far as you want, stop and have lunch, then hike back out. The parking area at the trail head is not very big (see the video) so if you go on the weekend, get there early or it might be full. However, there are no parking fees, but no pit toilets, either.

The Las Conchas Trail is only 1.9 miles long, so 3.8 miles round-trip. Elevation at the trail head is 8,423 feet. At the 1.9 mile point, the trail connects with the East Fork Trail. Elevation at this point is 8,357 feet. From this connection, it is a three mile hike west to the East Fork Trail Head, also on Hwy. 4. And from that trail head, you can even hike all the way down to Battleship Rock, if you want. Total climbing, one way, was only 73 feet with grades less than one percent, so, as far as hikes go, this was about as easy as it gets. Check the forecast before you go. I suspect this river overflows its banks and floods the entire canyon, from wall to wall, whenever there is a good rain.

Click Map to Enlarge

Click Map to Enlarge

Elevation Profile

Click Elevation Profile to Enlarge

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