Some of the objective hazards that are prominent in New Mexico hiking include swarming bees, temperature extremes, poor water availability, venomous reptiles, astonishingly thorny vegetation, steep terrain and high altitudes. I try to comment on any feature that is particularly prominent in a given hike.

Some of the subjective hazards include poor situational awareness, inadequate physical preparation (e.g. being unable to hike for miles), inadequate training (e.g. being unable to read a map or offer first aid) or poor awareness of others in the backcountry (e.g. during hunting seasons).

Some hikes are assessed as being easy, moderate or hard. That kind of assessment is entirely dependent on the physical condition of the hiker and may not be useful to those who are in either better shape or worse shape. Be deeply skeptical.

This website does not teach hazard evaluation. Training for such things is best done with others – for example an outing club in college or hiking with experienced hikers. Web pages and books are useful to an extent, but you don’t learn nearly as much as you would from an instructor in the wild. That said – many, many backcountry novices have benefitted from the Seattle Mountaineers classic, “Mountaineering, the Freedom of the Hills”. In particular, the list of 10 Essentials for hikers is thoughtful advice.