Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
Cibola National Forest: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

The picturesque landscapes and rugged terrain of Cibola National Forest make it an ideal destination for horseback riding enthusiasts. Located in New Mexico, this vast forest encompasses more than 1.6 million acres of diverse ecosystems, including towering mountain ranges, lush meadows, and twisting canyons. With a seemingly endless network of trails, it can be overwhelming to choose the best horse trails to explore. To help you plan your next equestrian adventure, here are the top horse trails in Cibola National Forest.


1. Sandia Crest Trail:

For breathtaking views and exhilarating rides, the Sandia Crest Trail is a must-visit for horseback riders. Stretching over 26 miles through the Sandia Mountains, this trail offers an exceptional riding experience. Ride along the ridge of the mountain, at elevations reaching over 10,000 feet, and enjoy panoramic vistas of the Rio Grande Valley below. Be prepared for challenging terrain and steep inclines, but the reward of the stunning scenery will make it all worthwhile.


2. Zuni Mountains Loop Trail:

For riders looking for a more moderate trail with a touch of historical significance, the Zuni Mountains Loop Trail is an excellent choice. This 19-mile loop takes you through the heart of the Zuni Mountains, allowing you to explore dense forests and open meadows. Along the way, you'll come across remnants of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which played a significant role in developing the area during the Great Depression. This trail offers a peaceful ride surrounded by nature and a glimpse into New Mexico's past.


3. Cienega Trail:

If you're in search of a tranquil and beautiful horseback riding experience, the Cienega Trail is the one for you. This six-mile trail takes you through lush meadows, fragrant pine forests, and sparkling streams. The trailhead begins at the Cienega Campground, which provides an ideal starting point for your adventure. As you ride, keep an eye out for wildlife, including elk, deer, and a variety of bird species. This trail is perfect for riders of all skill levels, offering a leisurely and picturesque excursion.


4. Juan Tabo Trail:

For riders who prefer shorter rides but don't want to compromise on scenic beauty, the Juan Tabo Trail fits the bill. This six-mile loop trail encircles the Tent Rocks, a unique geological formation characterized by towering rock formations adorned with vibrant desert flora. The trail winds through piñon-juniper forests and offers spectacular views of the Cochiti Pueblo and Jemez Mountains. Be prepared for some rocky sections along the trail, but the captivating rock formations and sweeping vistas make it worth every step.


5. Manzano Crest Trail:

For riders seeking both adventure and solitude, the Manzano Crest Trail is a true gem. This 23-mile trail follows the spine of the Manzano Mountains, allowing you to explore the extensive forested areas and enjoy stunning panoramic views. The trail is challenging yet rewarding, with steep climbs and descents, making it suitable for experienced riders and their horses. Experience the raw beauty of the Manzano Mountains as you ride through dense forests, cross flowing creeks, and encounter an array of wildlife.


Before embarking on any horseback riding adventure, it's essential to check with the Forest Service or local authorities for trail conditions, obtain necessary permits, and ensure you have proper equestrian equipment. As you explore Cibola National Forest's top horse trails, remember to respect nature, leave no trace behind, and enjoy the incredible experiences that await you in this captivating equestrian paradise.