Level: Advanced
Length: 4 mi (6.4 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: -
Total: 2 riders

Mountain Biking Pajarito Canyon

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#160 of 282 mountain bike trails in New Mexico
#9,454 in the world

Either way, this trail has a brutal climb, made all the moreso by the 2011 fire. The subsequent erosion after the fire has made it even tougher. It's a simple loop with a couple side trail options. Some of the climb (either way) is unclimbable, so be prepared to hike a bit. The best route is todo the standard CCW route, then head back north on the road up toward the ski area and connect to the doubletrack that will take you back down the unclimbable climb, so you get a way cool, technical downhill. This is all easy to understand if you get the "Santa Fe, Bandelier, Los Alamos" map from Sky Terrain trail maps.

First added by John Fisch on Aug 10, 2012. Last updated Apr 28, 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
From Los Alamos, head south on Highway 501 aka Diamond Drive as if you were going to the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. As you leave town, you will see a sharp right to the ski area--ignore it and go straight, looking for the first pullout on the right. The entry to the pullout is often deeply rutted, so you may need to park by the road. Follow the pullout a fey yards back to the north until it deadends--go through the gate and down to the bottom of the ravine. Look for the singletrack across the ditch to take the loop CCW (recommended) or go straight up the wouth side of the ravine for a CW loop.
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Pajarito Canyon Trail map

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(on Dec 7, 2022)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Los Alamos, New Mexico

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| 14 mi
Intermediate | 5 mi
Advanced | 5 mi

Rider questions

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  • John Fisch

    This will be one of the toughest 4-mile stretches you will ever do, but it's unique, interesting, and worth the effort. Going CCW, you will climb the nail trail, where fire and erosion has uncovered bedrock, giving you plenty of ledges on which to test both your legs and lungs. If you do a route that brings you back down here, you'll get a very fun downhill, especially if you're an advanced rider and/or have a long travel bike. Coing CCW, you'll descend through Pajarito canyon (make sure you don't miss the left turn as you gain the ridge) and enjoy some great features and interesting topography. The drawback comes from the changes brought about by the devastating 2011 wildfire. The woods have lost much of their beauty and ensuing erosion has really taken its toll, littering the trail with loose rock and harsh ruts. Much of the trail is soft and sandy and hard to ride. The native trees have been replaced along much of the route with thorny bushes. Things that were rideable are no more. Even so, this is a good ride if you're in the area. Before the fire it was a 4 star ride for sure, now, it's more like two and a half. With time and maybe a little rerouting, this may become a great trail once more.

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