South Boundary Trail
The South Boundary Trail is snow-bound in the winter and downed-trees over the winter period can make riding the trail difficult until crews get a chance to clear them, usually by mid-June.
The trail offers some rocky downhills and climbs. Also, note the last 5 miles of the trail has some descents that will challenge even the most experienced of riders.
The South Boundary Trail begins at the El Nogal Picnic Area on US Highway 64 (~3 miles east of Taos) and ends on FR 76 close to Angel Fire.
Food and drink
There is no portable water on the trail, so bring plenty with you.
There are a few popular rides and several burly loops that incorporate the South Boundary Trail. Most people ride it from east to west, either starting at Garcia Park (40-minute shuttle from Taos) or doing the full ride from FR 76 near Angelfire (1-hour shuttle). This direction offers more downhill and smoother climbs.
The "full" SBT starts from FR 76 - a washed-out, rocky access road best tackled in someone else's vehicle (!!) - and begins with a 1.5-mile, 800 ft rocky loose climb that may require some hiking. From Osha Mountain, the trail descends a loose road for less than a mile before entering the "Heaven on Earth" section: a consistent flowy classic side-hill singletrack descent through a conifer forest and aspen groves. Don't get too cocky; that grin will be soon wiped off your face as you hit wipe the 1.5-mile, 350 ft climb up to Garcia Park.
At Garcia Park, the trail follows the road briefly before cutting right across the field and back into the forest where a series of old two-track and single-track connectors weave westward. Route finding skills here are important as there are lots of unmarked turns, old roads and meadows where the trail isn't well developed or marked. The trail eventually continues its side-hill traverse/descent through aspen and conifer forests that are even more stunning in the fall.
SBT loses most of its elevation in the last 5 miles, with the steepest and most technical bits thrown at you in the last 3, known as the El Nogal section. This challenging final descent is fast at times, loose at times, stair-step at times, scary at times, and exceedingly fun (at times). Many riders will feel more comfortable walking through the tricky bits.
(For an alternate route, turn south on the Ojitos Trail #166 just past the obvious log drop. It's a longer, but mellower descent to the highway.)
This ride is normally done as a shuttle; some ride it as an out-and-back from Taos in a long day. Remember to watch out for afternoon thunderstorms during summer.
Some of the information on this page is sourced from:
31.307 km / 19.453 mi
654 m / 2,145 ft
1,495 m / 4,906 ft
3,273 m / 10,739 ft