The Los Alamos Mesa Trail and Pueblo Canyon Rim trails are built into
the hillside a few feet below the top of the mesa on the south side of
The paved Los Alamos Mesa Trail starts at East Park and runs east for
4/10ths of a mile before morphing into winding, sandy,
single-track Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail. That trail stretches
another 3+ miles before intersecting
with the Camp Hamilton Trail at the eastern end of Los Alamos Mesa.
View from Los Alamos Mesa Trail
of another trail on Graduation Point (above arrow)
These trails are part of the extensive Los Alamos County
hike-and-bike trail network. They connect with the Canyon Rim
Trail above DP Mesa that I wrote about
previously, as well as trails in Graduation and Pueblo
CANYON RIM TRAIL TO EAST PARK
Jim, Cody, and I hiked the Mesa and Pueblo Canyon trails for the first time this
morning, successfully timing our 4½-mile
out-and-back walk between two of the three storms that dropped snow in
the mountains on either side of Los Alamos:
I took that photo from the
back of our campsite at Eastgate-Sunrise Park. Compare the sky with the
photos below from our hike a little while later. Each storm was followed, for a little while
at least, by blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
We began at the eastern trailhead to the
Canyon Rim Trail. After 1½ miles we
crossed East Road to East Park:
This is a pleasant neighborhood park on East Drive near the fork of
Trinity Drive and Central Avenue. The park has shaded picnic grounds, a
a fenced dog park with some agility equipment,
and children's playground equipment.
The trailhead for the Los Alamos Mesa Trail is toward the rim of
Pueblo Canyon, just beyond the dog park.
LOS ALAMOS MESA TRAIL
Los Alamos Mesa Trail is an easy trail
with only 10 feet of elevation gain and loss; as mentioned in the
quote above, it is ADA compliant so even folks in wheelchairs can enjoy
views of the canyon and mountains from the trail.
There are several exercise stations, interpretive signs, and benches
along the way:
Nice trail, eh? People of all ages and abilities can
enjoy that one.
PUEBLO CANYON RIM TRAIL
When the pavement ends the dirt single-track
Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail
The first part of the trail is rather flat, soft, and sandy.
We were surprised to come to this cantilevered overlook. I let Jim
test its durability while I took a couple pictures!
Looking over Pueblo Canyon the other direction toward North Mesa and
the Jemez Mountains:
I got that one from the overlook. :-)
Soon after this the trail becomes a little rougher as it winds up and
down around trees and boulders. Jim and Cody waited there while I
explored the trail a little farther. It was one of those "I've gotta
see what's around the next corner" moments:
I reluctantly turned around after approximately half a
mile. Except for a short, unattractive section next to the high
chain link airport fence, this is a very interesting trail with scenic
views. I didn't want to keep Jim waiting too long while I satisfied my
I took the next two pictures heading back to the
spot where Jim was waiting for me:
That trail's on my list for "next time." I want to hike it at least
as far as the Pajarito Cliffs site.
Jim and I retraced our steps back to the Los Alamos Mesa Trail,
East Park, and the Canyon Rim Trail to our truck.
Then we drove onto Los Alamos National Lab property and treated
ourselves to some spicy chicken enchiladas for lunch at Hot
Rocks Java Café. That's the
restaurant that supplied the tasty Mexican dishes after the
Jemez race. I think we were the only folks in the restaurant
without LANL badges on.
For dessert we drove back downtown to Ruby K's and shared a
cherry turnover and raspberry smoothie to literally cool our
palates after that spicy Mexican fare. The smoothie was more
like "icy," and we both got instant brain freeze!
While Jim visited the Los Alamos Historical Museum and Bradbury
Museum (I've written about them
previously), Cody and I walked
around Ashley Pond, Bathtub Row, the Fuller Lodge, and the old
Indian pueblo ruins downtown. I also went into the Art Center
(without Cody-pup). I'll show photos from that excursion in the
I'll also address this week's weather mayhem here and across the
country in another entry.
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil