Unearthing the Placitas Trail System: A Cyclist's Dream Amidst Pinon and Juniper
Placitas, New Mexico, offers a captivating and diverse trail network for the biking enthusiast. Characterized by its sprawling 30-mile spread, this intermediate-level system has something for every cyclist. Whether it's weaving through pinon and juniper trees on a narrow singletrack or cruising along the extensive 5k loop dirt road, the Placitas trail system promises an exhilarating ride.
To delve into this trail:
- Lower Parking Lot Trailhead: Head east on highway 550 from its intersection with I-25. After approximately 3 miles, spot the entrance on the right.
- East Parking Area Trailhead: Continue just another half-mile east to find this trailhead.
Trail Highlights and Tips
- Trail Signage: Most of the trail signs are up and guiding cyclists efficiently. However, it's crucial to be prepared as certain areas can get dusty – a testament to the region's need for rain.
- Wildlife Encounters: Evening rides demand a vigilant eye, especially for rattlesnakes. Recent encounters with diamondbacks signal the importance of staying alert.
- Trail Features: The journey kicks off with a few rock gardens. However, those looking for a smoother start can bypass this by entering further down the dirt road. For those searching for that untouched, pristine singletrack experience, this place does not disappoint. Especially after a mild evening drizzle, the dirt becomes the perfect canvas for a fun ride.
- Elevated Excursions: Embarking on the Fenceline Trail will treat cyclists to a steady ascent towards the mountains. But, for a change in pace, keep a lookout for the Rhythm Trail on the left. This detour promises a delightful flow back north in the direction of Mustang Alley.
- Main Access: Starting the adventure on the main trail is a wise move. This southward flow alongside the old Fenceline is a joy to ride. The key intersection to watch for lies about a mile south. Here, gear up for a climb towards the mountain and let the Placitas expedition truly begin.
With its unique mix of terrains, views, and experiences, the Placitas trail system in New Mexico stands out as a must-visit for every cyclist. Whether it's the untouched singletracks, the mesmerizing flora, or the thrilling wildlife encounters, this place has its distinct charm. All that's left is to gear up, hit the trails, and let the magic of Placitas unfold.