FR 144-San Antonio Hot Springs Hike – 10/13/2023

‘Tis the time of year when autumn colors fill the bosques (the cottonwood trees) and the mountainsides (aspen). Hoping to catch the time right, we headed for the Jemez Mountains for, a drive on a forest road we haven’t seen in along time, and a hike we haven’t done before.

The Drive In

I will start the description at La Cueva on NM 4 – turn onto NM 126. proceed past the San Antonio Campground, then up-up-up the hill until just past the top, 5.8 miles. Turn right onto FR 144 – it is rough in spots so not suitable for a low-clearance vehicle but high-clearance isn’t required – for 6.4 miles. In a dip in the road, turn right to a parking area maybe 50 yards from FR 144.

The Hike

FR 144-San Antonio Hot Springs Hike 2023-10-13

Notes about the Google Earth screenshot: the graph at the bottom shows elevation of the track (pink area) and speed (the blue line).

This hike began by passing through a pedestrian gate (typical pasture barbed wire gate, it may be closed) and proceeds down a seldom used 2-track. At the bottom of the slope, now in the San Antonio Creek valley (soon to become a cañon), we bore to the right to follow the two-track (this happens to be FR 376).

The trail/2-track proceeds just above the western side of the cañon with nice views across the Creek to the steep slopes of the eastern side of the cañon. And above us the vertical rock outcroppings to prevalent in these Jemez Mountain, formed by the Valles Caldera volcano.


About 2.5 miles into the hike we were abreast of the San Antonio Hot Spring. We crossed the Creek (on a bridge, for our convenience and dry feet) and climbed up a -well used-, steep trail to the Hot Spring, ~200 feet, 2/10th of a mile. There were a handful of people already there enjoying the 3 or 4 pools – the hotest pool at the top, the other pools progressively less hot. We chose the 3rd pool down to soak our feet (we didn’t have appropriate attire to make it a full soak; all the other people were appropriately attired). Then it was a hike back to the truck (including an uphill finish which we normally avoid).

A Note: In talking with a couple of the others who were there, we learned that FR 276 is open and offers a drive in that is closer than our drive/hike; in the past it hasn’t always been open. They also reported that it, like FR 144, is a bit rough.


It was great to be back in the Jemez, and ‘tho not yet in full “bloom”, to see the colors of autumn.



And to top off the highlights of this hike, we were encountered by a pair of (real) cowboys rounding up their cattle before winter sets in. We had exchanged greetings with them as we started the hike at the trailhead, and as they mounted their horses and headed into the cañon. But along the trail towards the Spring they came up behind us, and … asked us to get off the trail – we climbed into a crevice in the cañon wall as they passed us by.


Total Distance: 5.32 miles
Elevation: start  8,713 ft, maximum  8,713 ft,  minimum  8,258 ft
Gross gain:  455 ft.  Aggregate ascending  1,353ft, descending  1,352 ft
Maximum slope: 43% ascending, 36% descending, 7.2% average
Duration: 4:19, Average Speed: 1.2 mph

GPS Track Files for Download
If you haven’t explored these hiking tracks with Google Earth, I urge you to try it. With the virtual 3-dimensional presentation, achieved by panning and tilting the view, you can get a much better idea of the hikes and terrain than you can get from the screenshot above. For some ideas, check out  Using Google Earth Track Files.

Related Posts

Off of FR 144
Road Canyon Hike – 11/19/2017
San Antonio Canyon North Hike, 11/12/2017
Pony Canyon Hike, 09/04/2017
Pony Canyon Hike, 06/04/2017
  And there are other hikes in cañons off of FR 144
From within Valles Caldera
Valle de San Antonio Hike, 09/22/2020
Valle de San Antonio Hike, 09/11/2019
Hikes in Valles Caldera
Hikes in the Jemez Mountains

References and Resources

USDA Forest Service: San Antonio Hot Springs
All Trails: San Antonio Hot Springs
Trip Advisor: San Antonio Hot Springs
Ultimate Hot Springs Guide: San Antonio Hot Springs
Traxplorio: San Antonio Hot Springs – A Little Slice of Heaven Deep in the Santa Fe National Forest


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