IMBA EPIC Ride - South Boundary Trail, New Mexico

South Boundary Trail

Overview

Trail is snow-bound in the winter and downed-trees can make travel unpleasant until crews get a chance to clear them, usually by mid-June.

Dogs: Off-leash

Terrain

The trail offers some rocky downhills and climbs; and be careful with the last 5 miles since they may impress you with challenging decents.

Access

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 potable water on the trail, so bring plenty.

More details

There are a few popular rides and several burly loops that incorporate the South Boundary Trail - though 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 single track descent through conifer forest and aspen groves. Then wipe the grin off your face with the 1,5-mile, 350 ft climb 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 are important there are lots of unmarked turns, old roads, and meadows where the trail isn't well developed. 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: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/4073073/south-boundary-trail-16

 

 

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31.307 km / 19.453 mi

Total Distance

654 m / 2,145 ft

Total Ascent

1,495 m / 4,906 ft

Total Descent

3,273 m / 10,739 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Sightseeing
Commuter
Rail Trail
Gravel
Various
EPIC Ride
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
Terrain:
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
On-Road
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Mobile Coverage: Limited
Services:
Water
Food
First Aid
Toilets
Bike hire
Carparking
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
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