Guadalupe Ruin & Tapia Canyon

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Guadalupe Ruin & Tapia Canyon

dogfriendly-iconparking-iconno-water-iconviewpoint-iconphotogenic-iconhiking-icon
BLM – Rio Puerco Field Office
435 Montano Road, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107-4935
url-iconWebsite

GUADALUPE RUIN LIES IN THE HIGH DESERT OF CENTRAL NEW MEXICO AND IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE ON DIRT ROADS THAT ARE IMPASSIBLE AFTER RAIN STORMS.

Located on a sandstone cliff, about 200 ft. above the valley. Access this archaeological site through a short, somewhat steep and narrow trail that leads to the top of the mesa, where you’ll find 39 rooms and 7 kivas plus great view of the surrounding area.
After your visit, you can proceed a little down the same road, to Tapia Canyon for a moderate 8 mi. day hike.

Guadalupe Ruin Overview

fees-iconFree entry
dogfriendly-iconPets must be on a leash
direction-iconFrom US 550, at milepost 41 south of Cuba, NM, turn west 8.5 mi. on CR 279 towards San Luis. Paved road turns right (3); go straight ahead and follow the dirt road 4 mi. Continue straight ahead (4) for 1.5 mi. Continue straight ahead (5) for 3.5 mi. Make a sharp left (6) and cross the arroyo (7) after 3 mi. Continue 1.5 mi. and turn left (8) onto CR 278. After 5 mi. (9) you pass some old adobe ruins (private property). trailmapContinue 3.5 mi. to a deep wash (10), which is impassable days after it rained. Guadalupe Ruin is about another mile on the left. It’s a short, but walk up to the ruins. Entry to the Tapia Canyon is another 0.5 mi. further down the road.
This is real backcountry and only attempt this with a reliable vehicle with a full tank of fuel. The roads can be nearly impassable after rainstorms and 4WD may be necessary. Watch out for herds of cattle.

Tapia Canyon Overview

fees-iconFree entry
dogfriendly-iconPets must be on a leash
direction-iconJust a short distance down the road from Guadaluope Ruin.

Tapia Canyon Trail

distance-icon8 mi. round trip.
difficulty-iconModerate
no-water-iconBring sufficient water

trailmapTrail Details:
Pass a fence to enter the canyon and then mostly follow the streambed all the way to the arch. You’ll find a slot canyon behind the natural arch.
On your way back, make a steep climb up the canyon wall to view some petroglyphs and a sacred Navajo site “Tower Ruins” which is still in use and closed during specific times of the year.


Closed to ensure privacy for sacred Native American traditional activities:

  • Sep 15 – Oct 15
  • Dec 15 – Dec 31
  • Mar 1 – Mar 15
  • Jun 20 – Jun 30

Nearby Destinations

2 comments

  1. Appears to be an absolutely incredible hike! We’d love to do it, but can probably do only 4 miles. What would you suggest in this area?

    1. This is not a hike for unexperienced hikers. Especially during inclement weather, its remote location clearly poses risks. A completely different, yet enjoyable outing is El Morro National Monument located south of the I-40. It offers a few very basic hikes and a lot of history, in addition to free camping.
      This area of New Mexico is ‘inundated’ with trails and hikes and one that I like lies SE of the monument and is called Dittert Archaeological Site. More of a real hike of simple to moderate difficulty and easy to access. Up to 7 miles distance or less if you so desire.

      I haven’t done these hikes recently, so always verify access and weather conditions, before heading out.

      Van Williams

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