Mesa de Cuba & Penistaja Driveabout – 11/09/2014

I’m writing this in 2019, reaching back to this great outing to explore territory that was new to us at the time.

The Drive About

Mesa de Cuba & Penistaja Driveabout.Jay.2014-11-09

Having come across articles about Mesa de Cuba and looking for new places to explore, we headed for Cuba (that is Cuba, NM).  Approaching on US 550, we turned left on NM 197, then in 6 miles. right on a dirt road.  After crossing a really rough patch (’twas dry on that day but don’t go there when it’s wet), and a “nearly” washed out culvert (a deep channel with just enough fill for a car to pass over it), w drove for about 2 miles looking for a track that appeared to take us to a place appealing for a hike (we didn’t really know then what we should be looking for). 

A two-track to the right went north towards the mesa, so we took it. We drove on this two-track for about a mile. Still looking for a hike, we stopped and explored the base of the mesa.  The terrain became quite steep, more than we wanted to tackle.  We returned to the Tacoma and continued on the two track.  After crossing a fairly deep wash with sandy bottom (our first “challenging” situation for the Tacoma/4 wheel drive) we eventually came back to the main road. With lots of time remaining that afternoon, we continued on the “main road”, to explore the area further – check the GPS track above (or download the .kml file below for GoogleEarth). 

GPS Track Files for Download
I urge you to explore our hiking tracks with Google Earth. 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 2-dimensional screenshot above. For assistance: Using Google Earth Track Files.


American Southwest: Penistaja Mesa
New Mexico Magazine: Badlands Walkabout
PhotoTrek New Mexico: Penistaja Mesa Badlands
New Mexico Birder: San Juan Basin Badlands – Mesa de Cuba
Facebook: Mesa de Cuba Badlands

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