Hikers get a chance to explore six of Earth's seven life zones within New Mexico's borders, and they are treated to gorgeous views of diverse geographical terrains such as white sand dunes, glacial lakes, hot springs, the Rio Grande Gorge, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the state's many trails. Prepare to be charmed by The Land of Enchantment by starting with five of what Trails.com lists as some of the best hiking trails in the state. And check out this link if you're wondering if cannabis is legal in New Mexico.
New Mexico's longest trail is the 50-mile Skyline Trail through the Pecos Wilderness, a pristine area of wildflower meadows, alpine lakes, and forested mountains. This hiking trail takes explorers along a series of ridges all the way around the Pecos River basin, which is abundant with wildlife, and it links up to several other paths that run throughout the Wilderness.
Continental Divide Trail
In New Mexico, you can hike up to 770 miles of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) to explore a range of picturesque landscapes, including the Chihuahuan Desert, Rocky Mountains, and El Malpais National Monument badlands, as well as the Gila, San Pedro Parks, Aldo Leopold, and Chama River Wilderness Areas. The CDT also passes many historic sites, such as ancient adobe architecture, Zuni-Acoma trade routes that are thousands of years old, and Big Hatchet Mountains Wilderness Study Area, where Geronimo once roamed.
Wheeler Peak Summit
The 19-mile loop that ascends Wheeler Peak is a challenging (but wildly rewarding) expedition meant for hikers in good physical condition and undertaken preferably during the warmest months, as winter can make the trail very hazardous. At the summit of New Mexico's highest peak, hikers are treated to 360 panoramas of the Wheeler Peak Wilderness and Great Basin below.
Trail to McCauley Hot Springs
It's a 2-mile, one-way hike to reach the McCauley Hot Springs, a collection of pristine natural hot springs that are open to bathers all year long. This scenic route also passes Jemez Falls as it runs through the backcountry and forests of the Jemez Springs area to the warm pools.
Bandelier National Monument
The Bandelier National Monument offers more than 70 miles of hiking trails that meander through the 33,677-acre backcountry preserve, which was dedicated to the protection of ancestral homes and lands of the Pueblo Indians. Hikers can explore a range of landscapes including canyons, woodlands, and mesas, as well as choose from trails that traverse a range of distances and elevations.