Jemez Pueblo Red Rock Trail Hike – 04/05/2024

With winter’s weather passing, ’tis time for us to get back on the trails. In the past couple of years, we’ve passed the Red Rocks Canyons in Jemez Pueblo. The Pueblo recently opened a trail into one of the canyons visitors; this would be a good start for this year’s hikes.

The Drive In

This may be the easiest trail to access in the Jemez: from Albuquerque west on US 550 to Ysidro. Then north on NM 4, 6.6 miles to the Walatowa Visitor Center. Purchase passes there ($12); the trail is across the highway from the Visitor Center.

The Hike

Jémez Pueblo Red Rock Trail Hike.Pat.2024-04-05

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

The trailhead is on the east side of NM 4, through a u-shaped entrance.

The trail is well marked the whole distance, a sandy surface throughout (except in the slot canyon) and little elevation gain. And the view into the canyon is impressive.

Throughout the trail the rock faces and canyon walls present an amazing variety of shapes and patterns.

The canyon wall appears to be impenetrable as we approached the slot canyon.

In the slot canyon (enter at 7/10th mile), the trail is well marked here too (60+ foot canyon walls) but the surface is quite rocky.

At one mile (3/10th into the canyon), we encountered a 10 foot tall rock blocking the way further into the canyon – we chose to stop there.

On the return from the slot canyon the views towards the Visitors Center and the mountains beyond were beautiful.


The views up to the entrance the slot canyon are varied: we enjoyed the views back towards the Visitor Center of the mesa and mountains beyond. The varied colors (predominantly red) and patterns on the rock faces are quite interesting. And in the slot canyon we found an amazing variety of rocks – red, black, even a purplish. It would be great to return with a geologist.


Total Distance:  1.88 miles
Elevation: start  5,614 ft, maximum  5,862 ft,  minimum  5,614 ft
Gross gain:  248 ft.  Aggregate ascending  625 ft, descending  625 ft
Maximum slope: 64% ascending, 62% descending, 10% average
Duration: 1:38, 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.

References and Resources

Jemez Pueblo: Red Rock Trails
                           Walatowa Visitor Center
AllTrails: Red Rock Trail with Walatowa Slot Canyon
Atlas Oscura: Walatowa Slot Canyon
Panethos: Rockin’ the red stone trails of New Mexico’s Jemez Pueblo

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