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Level: Intermediate
Length: 22 mi (35.4 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +125/ -125 ft
Total: 42 riders

Mountain Biking La Cueva

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#40 of 282 mountain bike trails in New Mexico
#2,776 in the world

Ride 20 yards further up the road on your right will be 2 trailheads, and a little farther up on your left, there is another. Trails are well marked with BLM signs. I reccomend taking the first trail you come to on the right, and if you veer right at intersections, it will (pretty much) be the larger loop. Get a map at the Bike Doc.

First added by searsandrewj on Mar 12, 2005. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Go south on standpipe rd. You cross a cattle guard. Shortly after, take a right on a dirt road at the low water crossing. Approx. 1/4 mile down the dirt road there will be a large parking area on your left. Park there.
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La Cueva Trail map

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scottxpc (on Aug 9, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Dusty (on Mar 13, 2018)
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  • Beauchpe

    Nice trails, not overgrown, pretty easy to navigate

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  • Chuck Lathrop

    The previous reviews are pretty much spot on. I did 8 miles including sections of La Cueva, Back to the Truck and Runaway. Ledges were my biggest problem though I managed most of them and the tougher ones I walked. Loose rocks were not as big a problem as I expected. As far as following the the trail I only had questions at two junctions one was unmarked so decided to ride the most used (good decision) and the other
    was where Runaway comes out at the bottom part La Cueva. One more note: Trails were decently marked except for the two junctions I mentioned and I didn't see any sign of cattle paths as one reviewer mentioned unless they are on a trails that I wasn't on. Also I had downloaded the BLM map to my iPod which turned out to very handy.

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  • Rob Ames   ✓ supporter

    Nice trail foe a quick 5 mile ride. Had to get off the bike twice otherwise the difficulty was manageable

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  • wrestle203

    As the other post state you will get blood from the bushes with thorns. If you want a little bit more tech, go down the flood ravine. Overall is a good single track but be sure to get a map. If I new how to load strava on here I would.

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  • ****

    Nice trail system. Pretty fun trails with a lot of rock ledges. Probably not worth a special trip, but if you go to Carlsbad Caverns, definately bring your bike.

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  • slaten99

    So....I m very new to the sport of mountain biking....so pardon the lack of lingo and knowledge. I have only been off the paved road a total of 4 times now, and three of those times have been on La Cueva trail system in Carlsbad, NM.
    So right off the bat...I have fallen victim too to shedding blood on this trail....every time I have ridden it. The trail is full of so called "Baby Heads"...."Rock Gardens"...with some "Switchbacks" and tons of fun. The course is typically easy to follow. There is a section of La Cueva trail that is a bit confusing....It looks like a cow trail. It weaves in and out of actual cow trails. I ended up having to turn around a few times when I finally got back on the trail. The rock gardens were alot of fun. I really enjoyed going down them fast...made me feel like more of a technical rider. haha
    My main complaint of this course is the trail is too rocky.
    My main praise of this course is the length, the rock gardens, signs telling you which trails are which.

    * Review edited 6/12/2011

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  • Nenbran

    I too scoffed at the comments of "there will be blood." All I have to say is that I left my own fair share of hemoglobin in the desert. I'm a novice rider, and this was my first ride on my new bike (and my first ride in a few years) so I was in over my head. I loved the ride though. There are a lot of unavoidable rock steps and baby heads that are hellacious to climb, but a blast to descend on. The switchbacks are also killer, and being a novice, I had to dismount so I didn't go off of the trail.

    All in all, this trail is a tough one for novice riders such as myself, but it's fun as hell and I look forward to learning on this trail. I posted a picture of the MAP of the trail system that I got at the BLM. Hope it helps.

    * Review edited 1/13/2011

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  • Throwfar6

    I laughed at all the comments about "there will be blood" until I happened to look down during the ride and holy sh**, some sly cactus had gotten me afterall! This trail doesn't get enough attn and the ride can be quite bumpy at times. But overall a fun trail. Abundant in wildlife apparently as I saw many horses and deer along the way. However, always looking for some local riders when I visit.

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  • jakesteed69

    Fun Trail! Rocky and your shins will look like hamburger (maybe a little exageration). It doesnt look as if the trail gets much traffic and is easy to loose it in some spots.
    Def not a beginner trail, LOL There will be blood.

    * Review edited 9/20/2010

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  • affordablesolar

    Fun trail. Some technical. Lots of baby head rocks. In my opinion this is not a destination but a fun local ride nevertheless. I called the Forest Service about biking the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns Park but they said no biking because the trails were too fragile. I didn't get a chance to talk to the local bike shops about other rides. I spent several hours online looking and felt lucky to have found La Cueva.

    Getting there is fairly easy. The previous article says to come off Lea then South on Standpipe. I preferred going on Hidalgo to Standpipe then North on Standpipe. About about 300 yards there is a cattle grate. Take the next left on the dirt road heading west.

    I rode the trail twice over two days. Arrive soon after sun up for a cool start. Yes there will be blood.

    * Review edited 7/5/2010

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  • Tim_Davis

    I agree with the last review. Fun and tech. The chamber/visiter center in town has helpfull people and a very good map of the trails. Oh yes--there will be blood.

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  • oso

    i read a review of this trail (on a different site) years ago that said it was for 'weekend warriors.' i disagree. it's a tough trail that will eat you up if you let it. it's also a very fun/technical trail that will have you smiling if you complete the loop with all the blood inside your body that you started with that a mesquite bush or cactus didn't take. Best part of the trail is a hill with a series of switchbacks approx. 2.5 miles in. i've never made it up the hill without at least 'dabbing' my foot. decents are fun, fast, rocky. the whole trail is littered with baseball sized rocks in the middle of the track that can either add a challenge or hinder your psyche. take at least a small camelback if you're going out for more than an hour and a half. also slime your tires and have spares. i've ridden to the trailhead at least twice on two slowly leaking tubes. you can get going pretty fast, my max speed on a downhill was in the low 20's (fast for me, i suppose). beware of snakes, cows, and local greenery with their own defense mechinisms. i'm a bit biased, it's my home trail, but a tough and fun one at that.

    * Review edited 8/11/2008

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