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Take Wing Event: Valles Caldera Geology Tour with the Goffs

Mon, September 22
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

Nature Playtimes Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico

Mon, September 22
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Every Monday, toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers come to PEEC to explore the natu…

Nature on Tap - Nature Bloopers

Thu, September 25
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

We all have blunders in life, but when they occur in nature, we usually walk away with int…

Thunderbird Rock Hike

Sat, September 27
9:00 AM

Thunderbird Rock (TR) has the second biggest collection of rock art in the White Rock Cany…

Nature Playtimes Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico

Mon, September 29
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Every Monday, toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers come to PEEC to explore the natu…

Take Wing Event: Off-Trail Tour of Tsankawi with Superintendent Jason Lott

Mon, September 29
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

Take Wing Event: Secret Slot Canyon Hike with Craig Martin

Sat, October 4
9:00 AM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

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Trails of Los Alamos County

By Dorothy Hoard and Craig Martin

The Los Alamos County Open Space System holds more than 5,000 acres of public land threaded throughout the towns of Los Alamos and White Rock. Almost 60 miles of trail beckon explorers on foot, bicycle, or horseback. Acid Canyon, Pueblo Canyon and Walnut Canyon are accessible from the PEEC's location on Orange Street.

Trail Safety

  • Many of the hikes below are in rugged, isolated areas where it is easy to become disoriented. Therefore, carry a good map.
  • Beware of cliff edges; they are deadly. Cliffs erode due to freezing and thawing, and give way unexpectedly. Also there are many trip hazards such as roots, brush and rocks that can cause unexpected falls into our deep canyons. Be safe, and stay away from cliff edges.
  • Safe hiking is a matter of of good sense. Always prepare appropriately. Tell someone where you are going, be ready for changes in weather, carry appropriate gear and equipment - layered clothing (so one can put on and take off as needed), hiking boots, water, high-energy snack and/or lunch, first aid kit, tweezers (to remove spines), matches, poncho, compass, and emergency blanket.
  • All hikes on this list are on public land. Do not trespass on National Laboratory restricted areas, private property, or Pueblo lands. Trails with numbers are Forest Service trails. The maps featured on this web site are only meant to give an idea of the nature of the hike.
  • In areas with burned trees from the Cerro Grande Fire, stay off trails on windy days, and always be aware that standing dead trees can fall in any weather.
  • Stay out of drainages when storms are in the area. Rainfall in the upper watersheds can send a wall of water down through the drainages, particularly in burned areas.

Once you are prepared, we hope you'll enjoy a glorious hike in our fragrant pine forests, and feast your eyes upon the spectacular views.

Trail Maps & Information

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Some Favorite Local Trails

Pueblo Bridges Loop Trail

Pueblo Bridges Loop Trail, morning hike, 2 miles round trip

Start from intersection of Orange and Olive Streets (closed to vehicle traffic) into Pueblo Canyon. Turn left onto dirt road just before reaching the old sewage plant. Go around to the backside of the plant and cross Pueblo Bridge (picture). Turn left and walk up canyon to homestead Bridge. The trail gets a little rough crossing some side canyons. Cross Homestead Bridge and bear left back to the sewage plant. Practically a wilderness in the center of town!

East fork Walnut Canyon to Kinnikinnick Natural Park

East fork Walnut Canyon to Kinnikinnick Natural Park, morning hike, 3.5 miles one way

Start on San Ildefonso Road (Golf Course side) about 500 feet south of Diamond Drive intersection (North Mesa Side). The trail starts at steps going up the road cut near the gas line enclosure. Turn left at the top of the road cut and follow the trail through the pines. Watch for another sharp left around the largest pine tree before reaching the golf greens. The trail goes to the East Fork rim, where steps lead down a canyon wall. The trail follows the narrow canyon floor to Walnut Canyon. Turn left (downstream) on the utility road, taking the upper branch where the road forks. At Pueblo Canyon, turn right and follow the trail up the canyon. Cross Pueblo Bridge, go right along a fence, then go left around the old sewage plant. Follow the dirt road to the point on the mesa. Turn right and follow the trail into Acid Canyon to another dirt road. Turn left for a quick, steep ascent to the Aquatic center on a pretty trail, or turn right and follow the dirt road.

Perimeter Trail

Perimeter Trail, about 11 miles

The Perimeter Trail skirts the edge of the developed town site from Rendija Canyon near the Guaje Pines Cemetery to the boundary with Bandelier National Monument, about 11 miles of trail. From its eastern terminus, the trail is located in Rendija Canyon, following the north slope of the canyon bottom. After crossing roads in the Ponderosa Estates subdivision, the trail parallels Arizona Avenue on national forest land. At the intersection with the Mitchell Trail, the Perimeter Trail again enters LAC Open Space as it winds across the foothills behind 48th Street. At the crossing with North Pueblo Canyon, the trail climbs on steep switchbacks on national forest land to traverse above the Quemazon Communities. Now heading south, there is a long stretch of trail that leads to the rim of South Pueblo Canyon. Here the trail swings east and twists among boulders and trees to the southern edge of the Quemazon development. Skirting the edge of the development, the trail descends steeply to cross South Pueblo Canyon and immediately ascends the other side, coming to the street at the intersection of 47th and Ridgeway. From this point, trail users continuing south onto Laboratory and national forest lands must use Sandia and Trinity Drives to access the Devaney-Longmire Trail.

The Perimeter Trail coalesced from a collection of neighborhood and USFS trails following the Cerro Grande Fire. A community-based effort, trail segments were constructed by volunteers and the Youth Conservation Corps. The trail provides a link to many portions of the trail network and serves to connect most of the neighborhoods in Los Alamos and connects with trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. The trail is a cooperative effort between Los Alamos County and the Santa Fe National Forest. Along its route, the trail crosses the forest/county boundary at least eleven times. The long-tern vision for the Perimeter Trail is to connect to Barranca Mesa to Bandelier National Monument. Cooperation of the Department of Energy and the US Forest Service are necessary to complete the trail from Omega Bridge to Pajarito Canyon.


Bayo Canyon Overlook Trail, morning hike, 2 miles one way

Start at the parking area at the Diamond Drive/San Ildefonso roundabout. Head east (away from the golf course) into Bayo Canyon and bear left to remain on the Barranca Mesa side. Follow the trail along the foot of the cliff to the end of the mesa. Those wagon ruts are from the 1930s homestead era. This hike is level and easy for children. There are great views of Bayo Canyon toward the end of the mesa. Optional: A steep trail continues down the left side of the mesa into Bayo Canyon.

Quemazon Trail
Quemazon Trail

Quemazon Trail, Cave of the Winds, morning hike, 3 miles one way

Turn left onto the spur of 48th Street at Trinity Drive to the trail-head. Hike up the dirt road to the little water tank. A nature trail restored by elementary students branches off to the left. It loops back to the main trail in about 1.5 miles. Another trail branches left to the Cave of the Winds about 700 feet above the upper nature trail junction. The cave entrance is in a steep rocky talus slope over the canyon rim, use exteme caution. The Quemazon Trail continues up through a nice aspen pine forest to the old Pipeline Road.


Deer Trap Mesa Natural Park, morning hike, 2 miles round trip

Start at the end of Barranca Road. Cross the narrow neck of Deer Trap Mesa; this requires a bit of scrambling down Indian steps. That rectangular hole carved into the tuff is the deer trap. Continue east (away from the road) and scramble up on the level mesa top. Follow the trail straight out to the point for a wonderful view of the Jemez Mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.

Trail #289, Valle Canyon

Trail #289, Valle Canyon, morning hike, 3 miles one way

From Diamond Drive/West Jemez Road intersection, drive on SR 501 west (toward the mountains) 3.0 miles to a nondescript parking area on the right. Hike on the dirt road into the Valle Canyon (Canon del Valle on maps). Good place for wildflowers and butterflies. At the big bend, you can follow the road about a mile up onto the mesa and over to the Pajarito Canyon parking area, or you can follow the narrow trail up the canyon to the Baca location fence. It's private property.

Trail #282, Ski Hill to Canada Bonita
Trail #282, Ski Hill to Canada Bonita

Trail #282, Ski Hill to Canada Bonita, morning hike, 2 miles one way

Start at the dirt road going off to the north (right) between the ski hill parking lot and Camp May. Stay on the road or take the cross-country ski trail that branches off in about half a mile. They both go to Canada Bonita, a beautiful grassy meadow. Very popular in October, when aspen are golden. Trail continues to old Pipeline Road.

Trail #280, Pajarito Canyon

Trail #280, Pajarito Canyon, morning hike 1.5 miles one way

From Diamond Drive/West Jemez Road intersection, drive 2.0 miles on West Jemez Road (SR 501) west toward the mountains. the parking area is on the right on the second hillock past the turnoff to TA-6,8, ect.. hike on the dirt road into Pajarito Canyon. The road ends at a rocky narrows, where a trail continues upstream on the right hand side of the canyon. This is a permanent stream with wonderful wildflowers. In about 1.5 miles, the trail climbs out of the canyon toward the ski hill road. Old roads follow the canyon rim back to your car. If you are timid, best to just retrace your steps.


© Pajarito Environmental Education Center
3540 Orange Street   or   PO Box 547
Los Alamos, NM, 87544
(505) 662-0460
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