Archives for category: Manzano Mountains
View of rib leading to Osha Peak


The Osha Peak Trail is a classic ramble in midstate New Mexico. This out-and-back trail initially runs along the west side of the Manzanos National Forest and then turns abruptly east, barreling up a rib to reach the crest. Along the way you traverse Upper Sonoran (juniper), Transition (ponderosa) and Canadian (Douglas fir) life zones. It is a short walk along the crest to the summit of Osha Peak. Views extend west over the Rio Grande Valley to Ladron Peak and Mt Taylor. Looking east will reveal the enormous dry sweep of the Estancia Basin and the Chupadera Mesa

The down side? The six mile road that brings you to the trailhead is in truly horrible shape. A high clearance vehicle (and full daylight) is currently necessary. 

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View of Albuquerque Basin from Trigo Canyon


Uff! The last six miles of road batters your suspension. The burned crest batters your sensibilities. The thorn brush batters your gear. The clutch of abandoned trails batters your soul. You might ask, “why bother?”. The answer is: Trigo Canyon. In its lower stretches the canyon echos with running water, pools and waterfalls abound, gigantic ponderosa pines tower above you, spectacular rock outcrops tower above the ponderosa, while huge canyon walls shadow the outcrops. Kick your day into high-gear and stroll up the lower reaches of Trigo Canyon.

It should be admitted that it took me several trips to hike the short distance described here. There are many roads leading to the canyon and finding a good driving route was unexpectedly difficult. There is little signage. The driving directions (below) might be of particular use for this hike.

2021-11-24 Update: The New Mexico Volunteers For The Outdoors visited Trigo Canyon on several occasions in May and June of 2020, and as a result of their labor the trail has been cleared substantially. I’ve updated the post to reflect their hard work. I understand that an active court case interfered with the removal of New Mexico locust and other prickly flora, so keep your heavy gaiters and gloves ready-to-hand. The road remains a mess, so high clearance vehicles are still very much recommended.

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01 Mazanos Mountains from NM-55

Morning Manzano Mountains from NM-55


The Manzano Mountains are central New Mexico’s unsung treasure. They offer cool Douglas fir forests, broad stretches of montane grassland, a trove of fossil finds, views west across the Estancia Basin and views east across the Albuquerque Basin; deer and raptors are common, bear and elk are present. Given its close proximity to Albuquerque you might think it would be mobbed. In fact, solitude is a Manzano virtue. The Bosque Trail #174 ascends directly to the crest, shaking off any morning chill with brisk efficiency. Turning south, the Crest Trail #181 winds across open grasslands to a junction with Vigil Trail #59. This new trail crosses the crest leading to an off-trail venture to the high point of flat-topped Bosque Peak. To make a loop return to the Crest Trail and explore north towards the base of sheer-sided Mosca Peak and then return along the mellow Cerro Blanco trail #79.

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