By Susan Brown
Riding through the mountains and deserts can take you along a trail a whole lot faster than your feet, and open up vistas you might not otherwise see. Since not every trail is open to all-terrain vehicles (ATV) you have to know where to go. Here are five areas throughout New Mexico that are ATV accessible and awesome!
Put your paddle tires on your ATV because these 20 miles of trails across 800 acres of Bureau of Land Management land are full of sand, sand, and more sand. It’s a typical desert environment where you traverse sandy arroyo bottoms, climb sand dunes, and scoot between towering sandstone walls. The area is open year-round, weather permitting. Primitive camping available, but there are no services and no water. A permit is required, as are helmets for those under 18 years-old.
If you’re looking for a little night riding adventure, this is the place. It’s 6,000 acres with trails that run through predominately sandy washes and dry, barren desert. At 5,000 feet, there are trails along sandstone and limestone bluffs and into deep canyons. Views of the Rio Grande Valley are impressive during daylight hours. Permit required. Open year-round. Camping is primitive but allowable and free.
The lightly-maintained desert trails in the hills and mountains northwest of town are rocky, steep in spots, with little or no shade on mostly hard-pack terrain. There are, however, lots of diversions into rugged canyons, through desert chaparral and across craggy ridges. Great views of Las Cruces in the distance. It’s free and open year-round. Permit is required. Come prepared. Youth, under 18, must wear a helmet.
Covering 8,700 acres of Chihuahuan Desert, Aden Hills is a great spot for an off-roading adventure. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the area is “characterized by low mesquite or creosote-stabilized coppice dunes, and a variety of dropseed grasses, yucca, and cacti.” Aden Hills has been a designated off-roading area since 1993.
With a 1.2-mile track and 10 miles of ATV trails, this is an off-roader’s dream! The park covers 300 acres of land and is maintained by the Red Rock Motorsports Club. Events are regularly held in the area, bringing the off-roading community together.
*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.