South Boundary (164)

4.71 out of 5
View Topo Map


elevation (ft)

avg time
Trail Description
About this trail
This trail is considered by many to be the premier cross-country ride in New Mexico, and for good reason, it offers 22 miles of sweet downhill singletrack cruising thru deep and dark evergreen forest, aspen glades, meadows; providing great views and some technical challenges at the end to give you a dose of adrenaline to finish the ride. It doesnít get much better than this.

First off, unless you are riding with someone that knows the current route, I strongly advise that you go to a Taos bike shop (there are lots) and get a current map of the trail. The 1996 Trails Illustrated map is missing a lot of detail and does not show the current route, so donít waste your money.

You start the ride at the trailhead on the east side of Osha Mountain, near Angel Fire, at about 9,900 feet. From there it is about a mile and a half of sometimes rocky uphill grind till you crest out at 10,770 feet. The trail then goes downhill on an open, rocky road ride for about the first mile, and then you enter the real singletrack. Enjoy the sweet, winding, singletrack thru the forest, past Quintana Pass, where you will pick up doubletrack and continue till you get to Garcia Park (Forest Road 437). At this point things get tricky for a couple reasons: 1) you have a lot of intersections over a few miles to contend with till you get back on true singletrack, and 2) the trail has been rerouted so the directions you may get from friends or outdated trail maps/guides will conflict with the current route. Compound that with the funny-boys who think it is great sport to steal or destroy trail signs and you have the potential for a lot of wandering. Most of the trail is well marked, but donít count on it. IMPORTANT: When you get to 437 the old directions said to go right till you crossed a cattle guard; that is no more, YOU NEED TO GO LEFT, downhill to the south, and continue on the road for about a quarter mile where you should see a trail perpendicular to the road on the right, heading west across the meadow and into the trees. From there the route is too complicated to try to explain. Hopefully you will find the ì164î that someone has managed to carve or mark into signs, trees, etc., that guide you thru this section of the trail; look for green treated poles, too. You will be riding doubletrack sections, singletrack sections, bits of road, etc., till finally you get to the cutoff for Don Fernando; at that point you are back onto singletrack for the remainder of the trail and the route finding is relatively easy and low-risk. You then have many more miles of cruising thru the forest to the final downhill section. The last few miles present some technical challenges, like steep sections, which are sometimes rutted and/or covered with loose rock, or some interesting rock obstacles. Blast on thru if you have the skills, or get off and walk if you donít want to take the risk. In any case, if you are worn down when you get here it would be wise to take a break so that you are alert and ready to respond to the challenges ñ you donít want to end a great day with a serious injury.

If you can schedule it, I recommend doing this ride during the last couple weeks of September. You will be rewarded with cool temperatures, miles of golden aspens, and deserted trails.
added by bonkedagainGnarly
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions


Q: There is a shuttle, but it's $30/ person. We were planning on riding it this weekend too, email me at if you want to try and set up a two car shuttle for Sunday! -rhut

No answers yet.




Q: Is the shuttle still available for this trail? We are headed down this weekend and I really want to hit it. Also, what is the best local bike shop in Taos to find an updated map? -kellikabetzke

A: Try Turquoise Trail Shuttles. Good people, fair price.

Yojimbo answered on May 26, 2017. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No


Please login or create an account to ask a question.
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Lake Lawtonka Trails
Lake Carl Blackwell Trails
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (46 total check-ins)
  jivey25   3 weeks ago
  greylockes   on Sep 14, 2019
  wannabe   on Aug 2, 2019
  wannabe   on Aug 2, 2019
  Stephanie Wardlaw-Ledfor   on Jul 6, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (21)
Trail Photos & Videos (21)
Reviews (14)


September 7, 2019
Gdb49 Gnarly  
Review: The first climb is as soul sucking as a Dementor in the Harry Potter movies. Steep, loose, baby head sized rocks, and absolutely devoid of character- so boring it hurts. After that, it is an absolutely spectacular trail. Beautiful and great trail. If you can not let the first climb ruin your day you will be glad you rode this trail. This is an epic trail, but needs to get rid of miles of steep, loose fire road.


July 6, 2017
HoneyHam Trailblazer  
Review: the classic NM ride

July 7, 2016
Review: I'm probably a mediocre Cat 2 XC racer as far as skill set goes and a lower level Cat 3 XC racer as far as conditioning goes. I'm also from the midwest and riding a Trek Stache 8 hardtail. Just to give you an idea of what kind of person is giving this review.

The first 1.5 miles will be pushing your bike up brutal rocky uphills unless you sold your soul to the devil for demigod-like riding abilities and conditioning. There's no way around it: it just sucks. But it is worth it many times over. Incredible flowy and awesome downhills for a significant part of the entire trail. Unbelievable views. I found myself just smiling and laughing throughout the ride. After the first series of descents there's a period of long, gradual, climbing. Nothing like the beginning, and certainly rideable, but just be warned it will wear on you. A granny gear would be wise to have unless you're in good shape, just for the sake of saving your legs for the rest of the ride.

Blowing yourself out before the end would not be wise: the last 3 miles of downhill are intense and dangerous if you have the jelly legs. So take rest stops to eat and keep the engine cool. Stop at the last intersection before the downhill for a break. Food, water, etc. You'll need it. It took us 6 hours on a fairly warm late June day for the whole ride. Had one of my comrades not had quad cramps we would have made it in 5-5.5 hours. I took 2 liters of water (plus whatever ice was in the CamelBak) and a 20oz Gatorade and was perfect (6', 200 pounds, 29 years old). Also ate like 4 granola/energy bars.

There were a few big trees down, but that was hardly a major problem. After the initial march we only walked one or two other times.

You can easily get lost. There are some running apps that people have used while riding the trail that has pretty much mapped it out. Download one of these apps and activate your GPS to make sure you are following the prior person's path. It saved us once (we missed a turn we even knew was coming up on a downhill section) and gave us piece of mind on the many intersections we came across. Phone service is questionable out there, but we never lost the GPS signal. We used Runtastic and paid to download the map so it wouldn't disappear once we lost cell service.

Ran a little higher tire pressure per Clay's recommendation (bike-whisperer at Angel Fire Resort Bike Shop) and it paid off (around 25-27psi). Hardtail can do it, but it sure made me sore. Full squish would be best.

In short, do not miss this ride if you have any chance of doing it; but prepare accordingly.


February 10, 2016
MTBCrash29 Doubletrack  
Review: One of my favorite rides of all time! This long trail offers it all. Long peaceful gradual climbs with rewarding descents that are followed by smooth flowing trails through the woods with scenic vies of the valley and mountains. Then there is the pure exciting miles of trails that are just downhill and rocky with so many jumps and opportunities that I about exploded. What a fun trail, I can hardly wait to go again.

Bunny Hop

June 25, 2015
gotdurt Bunny Hop  
Review: I'm going to give SBT 5 stars despite the brutally miserable climb at the beginning. "Heaven on Earth" is nice, fast and smooth, and the last few miles to Taos are freaking awesome; fast and technical. If you want to skip the first climb, start at Garcia Park, or on the bypass trail about a mile before Garcia on FR437 (this skips some climbing out of Garcia Park as well).
The final descent:

Similar Trail: Doctor Park, CO

Bunny Hop

February 9, 2015
Review: I went in the first week of October. Colors were peak and it was breathtaking. We shuttled to the top and rode to Taos. The last 5 miles went from frustrating rocky downhill and we took the turn off for the "jeep trail" section that turned into a whoops ride of your life. Just a BLAST! you go from high mountains on top to high desert at the bottom. great trail, hit it in the first week of October for the colors.


December 21, 2014
cycling8r Trailblazer  
Review: South Boundary is an excellent trail to ride, especially if you shuttle it. The views are phenomenal and the singletrack is flows very nicely. Make sure to double check your pack for all the necessities, as it can be quite secluded. I've also encountered a brown bear on the trail as well, so keep an eye out for wildlife!

Similar Trail: Windsor, Santa Fe, NM



November 10, 2015
mongwolf Trailblazer  
Review: Please don't take this as a criticism or negative post, but I'm quite sure that you did not see a "brown bear" or better known in the Southwest as the Mexican grizzly. The last known animal in NM was killed around 1930. And the last known Mexican grizzly was killed in Mexico around 1960. The New Mexico black bear has a variety of color phases. So I am guessing that you saw a black bear in a brown or cinnamon phase. If you are strongly think that it was actually a grizzly, you should report this to the Forest Service. This would be a significant sighting of tremendous ecological importance. All that said, kudos to you for riding the SBT. It sounds like a big ride in big remote country. It is definitely on my wish list.


September 2, 2014
John Fisch Epic  
Review: This is a nice epic if done from end to end. Over the course of about 23 miles it will throw a little of everything at you, all at altitude. The best parts are the miles of bench cut through beautiful pine and aspen forests and the dramatic plummets, including the last three very technical miles with very rapid elevation loss. It would easily be worth 5 stars if the full route didn't demand so much climbing on loose rock doubletrack.


October 15, 2012
Review: This trail really fun and offers some great scenery. For great fall colors ride it in October. We rode it both ways and the trail is so flat that it almost seems like you're going downhill in both directions. There are lots of rolling hills and skinny sections to keep things interesting but as usual the rating for the trail is not accurate so if you're looking for a challenging or technical trail this is not the one for you. I would rate this trail as "Easy" due to the fact that it has barely any incline and zero technical sections. However, because the trail does narrow in areas it may not be the best choice for new comers to biking.

Similar Trail: Green Mountain


October 8, 2012
Review: Just rode this trail and it's beautiful right now with all the leaves changing. I swear that this trail is downhill both ways.

South Boundary (164) MTB Trail 4.71 out of 5 based on 14 ratings. 14 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
The 2017 IMBA Epic Trail List Includes Routes in New Zealand, Finland, Alaska
Shuttling the Land of Enchantment, Part 2: The South Boundary Trail
The 10 Best MTB Shuttle Routes in the Western US