RIO PUERCO 4x4 TRAILS

Trail Description The Rio Puerco area is a huge strip of land (about 5 miles across, east to west alone)that lies to the west of Rio Rancho/Albuquerque and extends south past I-40, north to Hwy 550, west to the Laguna Reservation, and east to near the city limits and is comprised of parcels of State (public) land, intermixed with private land belonging to the King ranch (to the north) and the Quail ranch (to the south).

The area consists of just about every type of terrain you can imagine - sand dunes, boulder fields, arroyos, sandstone slickrock outcroppings, steep hills, and a even a swamp area. The area gets its name from the (usually) dry Rio Puerco river to the west that parallels it along its entire length (and which is responsible for the swampy areas after even a mild rain). The main trails through this place are generally EASY, but there are lots of spots off of the main trails where obstacles from mild to wild can be found.

Status: Currently open, but threatened by developers who are purchasing several sections of the area that belong to the King Ranch and Quail Ranch.

Some Things To Consider About this Area:

  • The public is generally tolerated on many sections of the private land, largely due to a lack of standing fences, but occasionally the land owners get cranky and block some areas to access (especially when their livestock gets harrassed). Expect this situation to get worse as developers begin to move into the area. Even though there are parcels of public land in the area, those could be lost eventually if the access routes all become blocked.

  • Traveling in this area alone is not advised. Weather changes the terrain out here pretty drastically sometimes, even well equipped vehicles have been known to get stuck or break down in previously 'mild' spots. Summer temperatures out here can be brutal, and it's a LONG walk back to town.

  • Another reason to bring a companion vehicle is to avoid leaving your vehicle stranded at all costs. Since this spot is easily and quickly accessed from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, there are no shortage of teens who come out here to engage in douchbaggery, including dumping and destroying stolen vehicles. This has been on the increase lately, for example recently: some losers ripping down the ONLY shade tree next to Little Snoopy and stripping and burning a Chevy pickup and a Nissan Xterra. If your 4x4 gets stranded out here and you have to leave it, there is a possibility you will come back to nothing but a burned hulk when you return for it.
Directions: From the EAST: follow Southern Blvd in Rio Rancho west until pavement ends, then continue west on dirt road (still Southern Blvd) until you reach a line of dunes (approx 10 miles from Southern & Unser) near a cellphone tower. The trailhead into the valley is on top of the dunes, at the north end. CLICK FOR GOOGLE MAP DIRECTIONS

From the SOUTH: from I-40 take the Rio Puerco exit, there is a gravel road going north from the parking lot of the gas station on the north side of the highway that will take you into the area. Be warned that this 12 mile long access road can become very muddy with just a small amount of rain; also the road passes thru several miles of private property that the owner occasionally blocks to traffic. CLICK FOR GOOGLE MAP DIRECTIONS

From the NORTH: There are several interconnecting trails which follow a gas pipeline coming from the north into this area, but virtually all pass thru private property that is enforced and are blocked unless a gate is left unlocked or a fence section is torn down. use at your own risk.
 

GPS Coordinate References (Major Points):

 

RIO PUERCO
GPS
-DOWNLOADS-

Right-Click the links below to download a file for your GPS, select "save as". These formats work with most Garmin GPS models:

Garmin .gdb V3 Format
Older Garmin .mps Format
GPX (GPS Exchange) Format
 
 

Southern Blvd (EAST) Entrance: N35 14.535' W106 51.759'
I-40 (SOUTH) Entrance: N35 02.172' W106 56.358'
3 Trail Fork: N35 14.741' W106 52.471'
Wash Trail (East Entrance): N35 15.236' W106 53.343'
Ridge Trail (East Entrance): N35 14.860' W106 52.634'
Ridge Trail Split: N35 14.762' W106 53.742'
Dune Trail (East Entrance): N35 14.641' W106 52.306'
Windmill Hill: N35 13.546' W106 54.245'
The Ledges: N35 14.456' W106 53.262'
Mesa Overlook: N35 14.066' W106 55.907'
(Little) Snoopy Rock: N35 13.737' W106 56.620'
Dragon's Back/(Big) Snoopy: N35 13.791' W106 56.547'
Snoopy's Tail: N35 13.944' W106 56.468'
The Post: N35 13.765' W106 56.570'
Slab Climb: N35 13.819' W106 56.528'
Body Shop: N35 13.822' W106 56.561'
Hummer' Hump: N35 13.741' W106 56.618'
Flow Hill: N35 13.882' W106 56.664'
Needalocker Hill/Bart's Rock: N35 13.638' W106 56.722'
Brian's Crack: N35 13.575' W106 56.791'
The Wedgie: N35 13.546' W106 56.799'
The Canyon: N35 14.222' W106 56.185'
Fossil Hill: N35 14.405' W106 56.253'
Finger Ridges: N35 14.378' W106 56.761'
Hondo Fork: N35 14.349' W106 56.211'
Coal Mine/Quarry: N35 14.233' W106 56.418'
Crystal Hill: N35 14.163' W106 56.449'
Choke Point: N35 14.259' W106 56.441'
Moon Rocks: N35 14.091' W106 56.660'
Dos Amigos: N35 14.857' W106 56.111'
Tumbleweed Hole: N35 14.482' W106 56.680'
Cracked Rocks (Cliffs): N35 14.494' W106 56.729'
The Gauntlet (Entrance): N35 14.572' W106 56.677'
The Gauntlet (Chute): N35 14.650' W106 56.676'
The Gauntlet (Back Door): N35 14.684' W106 56.703'
The Wall: N35 14.711' W106 56.730'

 

Maps Of Trail Areas: NOTE: These maps are larger than full screen - may be automatically resized to a smaller view by your browser!

General Map Of The Main Rio Puerco Trails.

Most common use areas shown for reference,
many lesser trails not shown.

SIZE: 1230 X 710

Satellite Map Of The Western Rio Puerco Area Obstacles

SIZE: 2035 X 2830

CLICK for a zoomable Topo Map from MYTOPO.com
(centered on Snoopy Rock)
CLICK for a zoomable Satellite Photo Map from GOOGLE.com
(centered on Snoopy Rock)

TERRAIN AND OBSTACLE DESCRIPTIONS:
TERRAIN AND OBSTACLE DESCRIPTIONS

MAIN TRAILS: From the east entrance, you go up over the north end of the dunes, then follow the narrow main trail which goes west along the ridge for a short distance. As the trail leaves the top of the dune and starts along the ridge, it has a looong vertical drop on the south side that has caused more than one set of soiled britches when getting a tire off the side of the narrow trail, as you can see in this video. After skirting the ridge, the trail then branches in a 3 way fork:

  • A southern "Dune Trail" route that goes up and down over tall, very soft dunes to get to the floor of the canyon. Some of these dunes require a high horsepower/weight ratio (heavier your vehicle is, the more it needs) to get up, because they are so tall, soft, and steep. Tires designed to trench, such as mudders, will also hurt you on dunes, unless you have the power to spin them at a high rate. You will see stock pickups with street tires and a V-8 go up these without flinching, and 4x4's with low-crawl gears and lockers that can't. If you are going to take this trail, a good horsepower to weight ratio and tire speed is the key.

  • A northern (and most popular) "Wash Trail" that goes immediately down into the canyon floor and empties into a large arroyo (wash) that goes all the way to the west fenceline. This arroyo gradually widens out as it head west, but has lots of branches that can be explored and will give you a tight squeeze in places. There are also spots with deep sand and sudden, hidden drops over rocks, especially after recent rains have washed out sand from behind buried rocks (Click for photo)

  • A "Ridge Trail" that continues on straight (if you can call any road in this area straight), following the ridge top and then finally curving south to meet up with the Dune Trail near a stock pond. This route consists of endless "whoop-de-doos" that are a favorite of the motorcyclists that use the area, but loathed by many in 4x4's. Driving this trail at any decent speed is about like boating in rough water, and will bounce anything loose in your vehicle that can be bounced (including un-seatbelted passengers). Which means some avoid this trail, while others (who like the bouncing) enjoy the hell out of it. At any speed above 15 mph or so, you can guarantee being airborne in several spots, so plan to drive slower unless your suspension (and tiedowns) is up to that. While on the Ridge Trail, you'll see it seems to split into several trails, but don't worry about getting lost - they all pretty much travel parallel to (and often criss-cross) each other, and eventually end up at the same spot.

There are a couple of alternate routes from the north and south into the Puerco, though they are used much less often.

 

THE OBSTACLES

Note: you can call anything as an "obstacle", whether or not it's lame, or impossible for anyone to get past it (so why bother with a name?) is another matter. There are as many obstacles in the Puerco as there are rocks and dunes and ditches. Some spots out here have names, some have multiple names depending on who you ask, many do not have a name at all. This page just lists some of the more popular ones, and the names (however correct or incorrect) are those told to me by various people over the years:

  • DUNES: (Click for photo)There are various sized sand dunes to be found from one end of the Puerco to the other. But for those seeking sand unobstructed by brush, there are 4 major dune areas; the first, and largest (and most popular and crowded) is at the trail entrance where Southern Blvd ends. The next set lies a short distance down the trail (a mile at most) on the south side. These dunes are fairly easy to access from the main trail, as it is near the top of the ridge. But the dunes flow from there down to the canyon floor, and so are much higher, steeper, and softer on the south side. If your vehicle has a shortage of Dune Buggy blood in it, you'll quickly discover you were able to climb up from the main trail and go down - but not get back the way you came. The 3rd set, and maybe the most challenging, lies at the end of the Ridge Trail, just a short drive south of the waterhole at a spot called Windmill Hill. These dunes are probably the tallest in the Puerco, and the steepest as well. Some of the slopes have foiled 4 wheel drive ATV's. There is one other, smaller set of dunes at the west edge of the Puerco, near the Wall and the Gauntlet Trail.

  • THE CANYON: (Click for photo)A short distance past the cliffs that harbors Mesa Overlook, you'll come to a dry stream bed running north. Follow the trail that parallels it that way, until it ends at some low hills. Here, the trail splits: one leg goes west over a gentle hill, the other - Rocky Road - continues north, up a HOLY $h1+!!! hill. Though the name is pretty descriptive, a look at this nightmare may make you turn around - the whole hill climb is over loose boulders up to 12" in size, often on washed out or off-camber slopes. Take a run, and see how 'bulletproof' your 4x4 really is. Or invite a poser to try it, then offer to buy his vehicle for parts (cheap) afterward.

  • BRIAN'S CRACK: (Click for photo) Near the Laguna fenceline west of Snoopy, this is a steep, slick rock section with several rocky and sandy spots, mixed with just enough dips and holes to kill your traction in just the right (fatal) spot. Been a few rollovers here, usually just trying to start it.

  • BODY SHOP: (Click for photo)This spot is an ugly little trail that follows the western flank of the Dragon's Back, with a waterfall that has to be negotiated before you are allowed to bounce over boulders and off camber humps as you squeeze past the cliff wall trying to alter your roofline. Fun!

  • WEDGIE: (Click for photo) Very short, very extreme. A near-vertical slickrock slope with a small cliff crossing it at the top about 10 feet up. The only exit at the top requires a 90-degree left turn, putting your vehicle nearly (or completely) on its side to make the turn. Lockers a must, rolling a distinct possibility.

  • NEEDALOCKER HILL: (Click for photo) You don't "need a locker" to beat the 3 trails climbing this hill, but only those equipped with one will get up without a struggle. This hill is all about technique - pick the right line and speed, and you can get up this with open diffs. Otherwise, you'll be spinning your tires all day. Actually a hill with several steep trails meeting at the top, due to perfectly spaced washouts, ledges, boulders, and sand pits that destroy your traction at crucial spots it is a good test of driving skill vs. hardware. The 3 paths up the hill vary in degree of challenge:

    • the left fork is easiest, with only 1 small ledge to bump over while trying to negotiate turn in loose soil(Click for photo).
    • The right fork has several traction killers as you climb, while trying to avoid a lovely fin of rock that tries to carve a new window in your side (Click for photo). Or you can crawl past the fin on the way down praying you don't slide into it (Click for photo).
    • And finally, the center path is the most difficult as it climbs an erosion channel that flows over some slick boulders surrounded by loose sand (Click for photo).

    There are also lots of body-panel-hurtin' rocks to avoid, such as Bart's Rock (Click for photo) at the bottom (seems far out of the way but suddenly relocates under your rear bumper or axle if you have to back down the hill), and Sometimes the slope is extra difficult because of ice or built up brush making it even slicker.

  • (LITTLE) SNOOPY: (Click for photo) Most 4 wheelers who are familiar with the Puerco refer to this entire area as "Snoopy Rock", but this sandstone slickrock formation is actually in 3 sections, of which this is the smallest. This particular section is shaped kind of like a dogs head lying chin-down on the ground. One run goes over the "neck", and another goes up the "nose" to meet at the neck. Of the 3 directions, the west side of the neck is steepest (and difficult), followed by the south (nose), which just about any vehicle can manage as long as the carb doesn't choke out. Easiest path is the east side of the neck, though a turn at the top to go down the nose is tight. turns at the top in any other direction will put a wheel in the air, so lockers are a help.

  • DRAGON'S BACK or (BIG) SNOOPY or MINI MOAB: (Click for photo) Depending on who you talk to, thi spot goes by 2 names - "Snoopy Rock" (along with the smaller chunk of sandstone to the south), or "Dragon's Back", which fits better. This is the center section of this slickrock outcrop, and it has a similarity to Moab - this is our local version of the infamous "Lion's Back" (Click for the gnarly crash video) - a tall ridge of slickrock with a narrow trail up the center. While not nearly as tall as Lion's Back, the trail up is much narrower, barely wide enough for a vehicle in most spots. And another lovely feature is that unlike the hard Moab slickrock, New Mexico 'slickrock' is soft sandstone - much more slippery than rock in Moab. This stuff is fun enough on a flat, wide slope - combine it with some tilts, dips, and a 100 ft drop off right at the edge of your tires, and you'll be pulling seat cushions out of your sphincter.

  • THE POST: (Click for photo) A small obstacle, located between Big and Little Snoopy, which consists of a rock 'post' about 4 ft high, centered on a raised table of slickrock. This is the Puerco's version of a 'drifting competition. Yes, you could see-saw back and forth a few inches now and then to get around. But its much more fun and challenging to see if you can power around the post in one sliding move, without falling off the raised table. This would be a great one to time in competition. Damage to your rocker panels is a distinct possibility if you don't keep your inside tires positioned on the post perfectly. Long Wheel-Based vehicles need not apply.

  • HUMMER'S HUMP: (Click for photo) The Sphinx in Egypt was built to worship a creature that asked a question of you: fail to answer correctly, and it killed you. This little Sphinx-like rock is similar in shape and character. It asks a question - "is your 4x4 good enough ?" If it isn't, the Hump will try to kill you. It consists of two approaches that cross the Hump's back, the top of which is about 5 feet high. One approach is almost vertical, and will do its best to roll you over backwards if you try to climb it. The other (Click for photo) is sloped at about a 45 degree incline that has nicely placed humps to play hell with your traction as you try to gingerly climb without going airborne off the top - and of course, you have to negotiate that 5 foot drop on the other side without rolling. A small, but very extreme, obstacle.

  • SLAB CLIMB: (Click for photo) This is an interesting little drive that lies next to the Dragon's Back/Snoopy, literally. On the west side of Big Snoopy is a sheer drop that starts at a few feet and gradually climbs to almost one hundred. On the east side is the Slab. The Slab is a nearly flat sheet of rock that slopes down from the top of Big Snoopy to ground level, tilted at about a 30 degree angle, and littered with rocks and cracks. You can enter from any point along the ground, but there are only a couple of accesses from the top side of the slab, one at each end of Big Snoopy. My favorite is to climb the narrow, slippery trail up Snoopy and enter the Slab from the top, then follow the slab all the way back along the side, staying tilted the whole way, and the drop over the top of the slab at the lower entrance, back onto Snoopy's "back". If you are carrying a passenger, they discover what that "Chicken Bar" is for...

  • THE WALL: (Click for photo) North of the small mesa containing the Gauntlet and it's associated obstacles, lies a fantastic hill. Not really a dune, but almost as soft, the west side of it is basically a gradually-inclining-to-near-vertical wall of loosely packed dirt. You can see ATV and motorcycle tracks going up and banking at the top, to go back down. If you have the guts - and EFI or a carb that won't fuel starve at that angle - get a good run and try to touch your tires on the top of The Wall. If you are really insane, try to follow the banking tracks instead of just backing down the slope (and pray you don't roll) !

  • THE GAUNTLET:This little mesa lies near the west border, across the arroyo from Cracked Rocks. It contains some very challenging obstacles, all connected by a wandering trail, that has become known as The Gauntlet. Among the fun you will find: rock staircases to climb (Click for photo), some with off camber tilts or sandy tops and bottoms to eat your traction(Click for photo); a narrow path thru the low end of the cliff face called The Chute (Click for photo), requiring a balancing act with your tires on a raised fin of rock as you climb - slip off and the rock wall on the other side finds out how many layers of paint you have; and last, but not least, negotiate a narrow, torturous path that ends in a tilted series of tall steps you have to approach sideways to get to the top. Or you can try your hand at The Back Door, an obstacle that lies at the north end of the Gauntlet, which consists of a narrow squeeze over off camber staggered ledges that you must alternately straddle and climb to escape at the top.

  • DOS AMIGOS: This nifty little trail combines uneven, loose, off-camber climbing that tests your flex and traction, with a rock wall monster trying to rearrange your body work when the trail slides you toward it. Definitely not for the stock SUV crowd.

  • THE LEDGES: An area of rugged staircase climbs that lie south of the Dune Trail. Doesn't get many visitors because it is way off the popular routes to spots like Snoopy Rock, so if you bust an axle or roll it here... you better have a ride with you.

  • MOON ROCKS:Another couple of small, but fun, obstacles near the old coal mine tailings, basically knobs of white sandstone sticking out of the black dirt. Some slick humps to play on, with a narrow cut thru the rock on the south side of one area. Watch your angle thru the cut, or a slide will gouge your bodywork on the side (voice of experience).

  • CHOKE POINT: (Click for photo)Sitting half-hidden on the hillside above the old coal mine, is a short trail that combines 3 terrains to navigate before you reach the top of the hill. You will often see motorcycle tracks on this trail, but not many vehicles take the challenge. First up as you climb is a powdery steep hill with uneven terrain to destroy your traction, and a 15 foot drop on the side. Get thru that, and you reach the narrow gap(Click for photo) in 2 rock walls that chokes the path up. This squeeze also sits off camber, inviting gravity to slide you into high-centering on the lower wall when you try to cross. If the angle doesn't look bad in the video capture (the camera is sitting on a tilted slope), see THIS PHOTO, which gives you a little better idea how off-camber it is (I am trying to stand straight up and down). Finally, if you squeeze past the choke sucessfully, you have a slick, steep, off camber slab to climb (while turning 90 degrees) to get to the top where you can turn around and come back down. The downhill side of this slab also feeds a lovely dropoff if you make a mistake here (Click for photo).

  • ARROYOS and THE BOGS: New Mexico weather usually keeps the Puerco pretty dry, though occasionally you do find a puddle here and there for no particular reason. If there has been any decent rain, though, there are some nice places to paint your 4x4 "Globby Brown" if you don't mind the cleanup. In wet season, you don't even get to the Puerco before the fun starts - there are usually two nice sized soupy bogs right on the dirt portion of Southern Blvd. If you want a lengthy ride thru slop, however, head to the west border of the Puerco, near Snoopy Rock. There you will find a 'road' following the Laguna reservation fenceline, the farther down it you go, the swampier it will get, and the less like a road it will look. No need to leave the road, it is usually bad enough by itself. After a mile or so it starts getting really bad, but it also crosses (posted) private property, so you are on your own from there. If the road is swamped you aren't likely to see anyone, though. Just remember getting busted for trespassing when you get stuck really downers a trail ride.

    There are also some other spots going north from the Gauntlet or south of I-40 where trails take you into arroyos feeding the Rio Puerco river, where the mud can get EPIC deep (Click for photo). In many places, the water table is near the surface and will keep deep mud gooey for weeks, while allowing the sun to dry the surface to the point where walking on it will not give away the trap that lies beneath.

    And as with any desert arroyo, keep a close eye on weather when driving in them. Even if there is no rain nearby, an arroyo can become a deathtrap in minutes from a cloudbust many miles away. There are plenty of graves filled with people who were ignoraant of this fact - don't become a statistic.

Specific Points
Of Interest:
NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST:

KEEP EVERYBODY HAPPY: While you probably came out here for the dirt, mud, adrenaline, and busted parts, sometimes it's desirable (or necessary) to bring the family along - and they may not be quite as thrilled about 4 hours of kidney abuse as you are! So here are a few diversions you may want to consider to keep everybody motivated:

  • PICTURES WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: The scenery in this badlands area is awesome, don't ever forget a camera! For some examples, click these links to see some examples:
    (Rio Puerco Trailhead) --  (Mt. Taylor from Fossil Hill) --  (Colorful Rock Strata)
    There are plenty of photo ops here - not to mention pics and video of Dad or Mom nearly rolling the 4x4 are great for later conversation. The Mesa Overlook (Click for photo) is one of the best of these photo spots in the Puerco, especially in the morning before the glare and dust build up. Birds Eye view of much of the Puerco, more than a single photo can take in. The trail up to this cliffside point is a bit of fun as well.

  • WEIRD ROCKS: The Puerco is covered with strange rock formations of all shapes and sizes. For some examples, click these links to see some examples:
    (Photo 1) --  (Photo 2) --  (Photo 3) --  (Photo 4) --  (Photo 5) --  (Photo 6)
    Large concentration of these can be found at Hondo Fork, where you will see weird rock formations known as "hoodoos" - balancing rocks caused by wind and rain erosion (Click for photo) Crawl along the nearby dry stream bed, and maybe you'll spot some of the fossil shark teeth that have been found here. And of course, there is a geocache hidden here, as well.

  • LUNCH!: yeah, you can stop anywhere out here to choke down a sandwich and a brew, but it's so much nicer (especially with a family in tow) if your pit stop has nice scenery, a good amount of cool shade, and a convenient location. A section of cliffs known as The Cracked Rocks (Click for photo) fits the bill perfectly! The cliff face is split with huge cracks that make it a great photo subject, and it has a great view of the surrounding area as well. It is also one of the few decent shade spots in the Puerco, making it a great stop for lunch or a break during trail rides. The spot sits right at the intersection of trails that will take you the Coal Mine and Snoopy to the south, Dos Amigos to the east, several arroyos known to have epic mud after a rain to the north, and the forbidden cliffs of the Gauntlet Trail stare at you from just across the arroyo to the north as well. Last but not least, there is a geocache hidden here, and seashell fossils lurking in the rocks.

  • FOSSIL HILL: There are fossil outcrops all over the Rio Puerco (which is a LOT of area to hunt in) - everything from shark's teeth to Dinosaur eggs and Seismosaurus skeletons have been found in this huge drainage basin that includes the famous Morrison Formation farther north near Highway 550. Probably one of the more concentrated fossil spots in the Puerco is around a spot I call Fossil Hill. There are a couple of ways to find this spot:

    • The easy way to find it (not the easy way to get to the fossils, however) is a spur trail dead-ends in a small box canyon on the west side of the hill (Click for photo); there is a large (for the Puerco) tree here that is a great shade spot for a nice break from the hot afternoon sun. Access from this spot means climbing a very steep, rock-strewn slope to get at the majority of the fossil outcrops on the hilltop.

    • The other trail that will allow you to drive right to the top of the hill from the east is very hard to find (but a lot easier than walking up the hill from the west side). There is an almost-not-there path that branches off a crisscross of trails connecting Hondo Fork with the arroyo near the Gauntlet.

    This spot is literally bursting with fossils (Click for photo), especially around the top of the hill. Crinoids, clams, welks, coral fans and nodules, shark's teeth, and even the rare bone have been found embedded in the rock outcroppings (Click for photo 1) --  (Click for photo 2) --  (Click for photo 3) --  (Click for photo 4) -- . There are also unusual hollow nodules of rock similar to geodes that look like they may have a lot of iron ore content (judging from the rusty appearance). There are also several fallen petrified trees - at least one stump is so well preserved it doesn't even look like rock until you break a piece off!

    Please keep in mind: fossil seashells are free for the taking, however there is a yearly limit on the amount of petrified wood you can take home, and EGGS or SKELETONS found on public land are illegal to keep (if they are on private land they belong to the land owner). Please hunt responsibly! If you do find a skeleton, do not disturb it - mark the spot on a GPS or map and notify a museum.

  • ROCK HOUNDS: The Puerco has a variety of rock outcroppings that will please you whether a die-hard collector or just a kid stuffing your pockets for that shoe box at home. Aside from the normal localized strata, this county wide drainage area has washed many rocks from volcanic outcrops miles away. There was once a small surface coal mine here - you can see some posts and cables still sticking out of the ground - and there are several outcroppings of different minerals in the surrounding area. Over the top of the small hill to the south of the tailings are chunks of glassy Gypsum Crystals, often in sheets, sparkling like giant diamonds all over the hillside. Also to be found are samples of everything from Petrified Wood to Agates, Jaspers, and other interesting minerals. (Click for photo)

  • GEOCACHES: So what about these geocaches? Well, if you haven't already had the pleasure, and you own a GPS, you might want to check out an interesting game that has fans around the world, called geocaching. It is basically an electronic game of hide and seek, crossed with a treasure hunt, and you use your GPS to play. Someone hides a container with a logbook and prizes, and you use your GPS to find it. When you do, you take something from the container, and leave something of equal value, and sign the log, then go online to the geocaching website and verify your find. For more information on how to play, check out Geocaching.com. If you already know how to play, and want to see a list of the geocaches hidden in the Rio Puerco (there are several) click HERE.

VIDEO: Click the links below to see online videos from the Puerco

Goofing around in a small wash More Goofing around Easy Trails In The Puerco
Unsuccessful attempt at squeezing thru the "Choke Point" Cruising The Dragon's Back (Snoopy Rock)
- driver's view -
Climbing Dragon's Back (Snoopy Rock)
-side perspective-
April 2008 NMVJC Outing (PutFile) Hummer H3 in the Puerco (PutFile) Hummer H3 in the Puerco (PutFile)
Toyota Truggy Attempts a Waterfall (YouTube) Tube Buggy Rolls Over (YouTube) Jeep Climbs The Body Shop (YouTube)
Samurai Buggy Rock Crawling (YouTube) Samurai Buggy Rock Crawling (YouTube) Climbing The Body Shop (YouTube)
Crawlin Up The Slickrock (YouTube) Rio Puerco Rock Crawling (YouTube) Climbing The Body Shop (YouTube)
H1 Hummer On Dragon's Back (YouTube) Cherokee on Brian's Crack (YouTube) Good Shot Of The Body Shop (YouTube)
Tackling Hummer's Hump (YouTube) Tackling Hummer's Hump (YouTube) Recovering A Rollover (YouTube)
A Modified Rubicon At Play (YouTube) Playing On the Slickrock (YouTube) H1 Hummers In The Puerco (YouTube)
Sandhills And Slickrock (YouTube) HP Sand Rail Flies (YouTube) Polaris UTV Plays (YouTube)

 

PHOTOS: Click a thumbnail to enlarge

TRAILS,
DUNES,
AND
ARROYOS

Dunes at Puerco east entrance

East entrance trailhead view

Eric finds some loose sand

Many dune areas in the Puerco

Playing around in the Puerco

Mud from the south bog route

Arroyo running fun but risky

Axle stuck on a boulder

Playing in a narrow wash

A little snow in the Puerco

A little snow in the Puerco

 

SNOOPY
ROCK
AREA
OBSTACLES

Climbing slickrock at Little Snoopy

Climbing slickrock at Little Snoopy

Climbing slickrock at Little Snoopy

Climbing slickrock at Little Snoopy

Long wheelbase stuck on Snoopy

View of Big Snoopy from the west

Steep and Slick sandstone

View looking down Big Snoopy

Crawling down Snoopy Rock

Descending a blind hill near Snoopy

Boulder crawling at Bart's Rock

Playing near Needalocker Hill

Playing near Needalocker Hill

Playing near Needalocker Hill

A Steep and Ugly Hill

Some pucker on Needalocker

Why It's Called Need-a-Locker

Why It's Called Need-a-Locker

Why It's Called Need-a-Locker

Ledge crawling near Snoopy

Climbing "Hummer's Hump"

Tilted slab on Snoopy's back

An obstacle called Brian's Crack

 

COAL
MINE
AREA

Pinzgauer on a tight turn

Blind hill and off camber too!

Boulder near the old coal mine

Attacking the Choke Point

Attacking the Choke Point

Attacking the Choke Point

Hanging Off A Cliff at Choke Point

Hanging Off A Cliff at Choke Point

Vehicle recovery at Choke Point

Vehicle recovery at Choke Point

Vehicle recovery at Choke Point


 

THE

GAUNTLET


Climbing the "Wall" in the Puerco

Sand and steps in the Gauntlet

Attacking "The Chute" obstacle

All ahead, dead slow

Angle gets steeper as you climb

Scraping past the wall

Exiting from The Chute

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