Otero Canyon Loop
ElevationAscent: 640' 195 m
Descent: -638' -194 m
High: 7,337' 2,236 m
Low: 6,798' 2,072 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (3°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)
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“A nice 5.0-mile loop south of Tijeras.”— Pete Gomez
There are also a fair amount of mountain bikers going up and down this trail, be aware and conscious of them to avoid any accidents.
Gnasty Trail rises another 200 feet where you'll leave the shade and approach the height of land. As you travel eastward, there are great views of the area. Watch your footing; there are rocks and roots. Several improvised trails branch off without any signs. Best views from the loop are from Gnasty Trail. If you stay on the paths showing heaviest use you'll get to the sign at intersection with Blue Ribbon Trail.
Take a left turn on Blue Ribbon Trail. The elevation will go up-and-down a little. After about 0.5 miles (3.6 mi. into the run), you'll again reach the height of land before your 2.0 miles of descent. There will be plenty of trees around you but they don't provide any shade. Blue Ribbon Trail drops you at the intersection where you took the Otero Canyon Trail. Turn right (north) to return to your vehicle.
If I did this over again, I would not descend Blue Ribbon Trail because of the annoying uneven loose rocks on the way down that threaten to twist an ankle. I would reverse course over the Gnasty Trail and Otero Canyon Trail. I cannot recall anything very interesting on this part of the loop that justifies the bad footing.
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Land Manager: USFS - Cibola National Forest Office
Apr 3, 2020: Be a Bear Smart Community!