December 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM

A Hike Through Cerrillos Hills State Park

"This little trek is so worthwhile..."

By Liz Simon

Trips & Quips

Liz Simon is a photographer, writer and cyclist who likes to combine the three in her quest to discover the nooks and crannies of New Mexico. Sometimes, means of transportation other than bicycle are employed---including the Rail Runner and motorcycle.

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Today was a great day for exploring and hiking. I have written about the town of Cerrillos in an earlier blog, and now that my son was in town for the holidays, I wanted to show this village to him. We also wanted to hike the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park because, even though we have lived here for more than 10 years, neither of us had hiked it before. This little trek is so worthwhile, we were more than pleasantly surprised and we will be back.

To get there, take Route 14 to the Cerrillos turn off, about three miles outside of Madrid. Turn right at the sign for Cerrillos, because that’s the only way you can turn. Drive down about half a mile into the town, and turn right onto Main Street. Keep going. You’ll wind around a bit for maybe a quarter of a mile or less, and then you will see a parking area on the left. Stop here to buy your pass, which will cost $5. Don’t skip this step for a couple of reasons. First of all, the park really needs the funds to maintain the place, and secondly, the park rangers DO check your windshield. If you have not purchased this, you will be fined! So do it right.

After buying our pass, we continued a short distance past the first stop to the Escalante Trail, and started from there. There is parking on the right side of the road, and the trail is clearly marked. The views are spectacular, the trail is well maintained and the hike is an easy to moderate level of difficulty. A new building has been constructed near the entrance to the park, with the usual “necessary” facilities.

We spoke with a park ranger, who had in fact, stopped to check that we had purchased a park pass. She informed us that the best times to visit are September through May. I’ve been there in the summer, on the motorcycle, just snooping around, and it was HOT. I would not recommend this hike anytime outside of those months which the park ranger referred to as “our season”.

Have fun, and
Happy Trails to You
From Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment

For more photos, please visit me at Trips and Quips

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