A true New Mexico experience! Window Rock is considered a desert hike. Several large arroyos (washes) snake down towards the Chama river from the geologically impressive Jemez range. On the way, they cut through what is known as New Mexico “badlands”. We will hike in the arroyos and over the badlands to an impressive ridge where a giant hole (arch) has been carved into the ridge’s rocky spine. Also known as a “dyke”. This is an excellent Winter destination with outstanding scenery and an abundance of solitude.
We will begin our trek at a primitive trailhead just off of Highway 285 North of the city of Espanola. We will plan for a 45-minute drive from downtown Santa Fe. The hike will begin in a sandy arroyo, providing relatively easy walking. Cottonwood’s dot section of the winding path and interesting side canyons are seen from time to time. After about a mile or so we will leave the arroyo and follow a series of double track trails to a meadow that sits at the base of Window Rock. Big views open up to the Northeast, providing the hiker with a glimpse into the vastness of the impressive Sangre de Cristo range. After hiking over rolling terrain and arriving at the meadow the window is in sight. A steep but relatively short hike will take us up to the ridge to the windows Southside. Once we gain the ridge a brief walk will land us directly inside the window. This is a magnificent place. A true spectacle that will not be easily forgotten. Sweeping views and wide-open skies dominate the senses. I recall coming here with my Mom on a stormy day in January when we were gifted with three different rainbows during the hike. This area illustrates the lowlands of Northern New Mexico quite well and will provide the hiker with a unique experience in nature only to be found in this beautiful section of the Southwest. We will continue back the way we came.
Out and Back Hike
Total Hiking Distance: 8 miles
Estimated Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Santa Fe door to door: 5-7 hrs
Recommended Seasons: October – April
Off-Season Hiking: Uncomfortably hot in Summer. May and September are possible if the weather permits.
Trail Considerations: Even though this hike is reserved for the Winter months and cooler temps are likely there is very little shade to be had on this trek. Sunscreen and a good hat are a must out here