Tucked away in Raton, New Mexico, the Lake Maloya trail presents riders with a unique blend of challenge and beauty. Offering breathtaking vistas, technical terrain, and a refreshing ride through diverse landscapes, this 6-mile loop promises an unforgettable cycling experience.
Starting off, cyclists should aim for the main loop, best maneuvered clockwise. A couple of salient pointers include:
Views and Challenges: Amidst the picturesque scenery, riders must prepare for some demanding climbs characterized by rock-laden paths. The trail’s ruggedness is accentuated by hoofprints of deer and elk. Yet, the exhilarating descent down the creek canyon justifies every drop of sweat.Trail Attributes: Known formerly as an old jeep trail, the path splits into two: a steeper climb on the left and a gentler ascent to the right. Whichever route one chooses, the downhill rush is equally rewarding. It’s vital, however, for riders to be well-conditioned, given the elevation at roughly 7800ft.Trail Connectivity: Notably, the Lake Maloya trail serves as a nexus to other biking routes within the park. Additions include the 2-mile long Wapiti trail and the Lake to Lake trail, also spanning 2 miles. Combine these with the Lake Alice trail, and riders get a fulfilling 3.5-mile route. Moreover, there's buzz about the (DAD)Down and Dirty mountain bike race, which used to be a highlight event.Maintenance and Wildlife: Given the limited staff, maintenance can occasionally lag, leading to sections overgrown with grass. Riders have also reported sightings of bear scat, demanding extra caution.General Consensus: Most riders recommend a clockwise route, starting from the lake. The trail offers a healthy mix of ascents and descents, traversing meadows, and weaving through the Ponderosa forest. While its diverse terrains offer ample excitement, some cyclists hope for a lengthier loop, given its rich potential.
From Raton, follow Highway 12 east, directing towards Sugarite Canyon State Park. Post fee payment, proceed up the highway until reaching the dam at Lake Maloya. The ideal parking spot lies at the dam's west end. The trailhead beckons right beside the restroom.
The Lake Maloya trail is more than just a cycling route; it’s a gateway into New Mexico's raw, unbridled beauty. Whether passing through or a local, this trail invites riders to immerse themselves in a robust cycling experience amidst nature's finest landscapes.