- 4 miles
- 1 - 2 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8600 feet
- Elevation Range:
- 8600 feet to 9200 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 600 feet
- Year Round
Primary use of the trails is in the winter months. The trails are used for cross country skiing or snowshoeing. In the summer months trail can be used for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
The Maquinita Canyon area covers about six square miles. It is bounded on the north and east sides by US 64. The area includes two large canyons: Deer Trail Canyon, through which the highway runs, and Maquinita Canyon. Between the two canyons are two gentle valleys. All of these drainages are parallel. They slope downhill to the northeast, and intersect the US 64 at the lower ends. The upper ends of these drainages offer occasional open meadows, a variety of terrain, and are very secluded and picturesque.
Snow depth in this area is typically over three feet deep in mid-winter and may last well into May, allowing for excellent spring, warm-weather skiing. In the spring conditions are often suitable for skating and for telemarking off the ridges.
The area offers an opportunity to explore since all drainages lead to US 64. However, five routes are recommended Forest Service Map. Trails are marked with blue diamonds. All intersections are marked with arrows on posts showing possible routes.
Deer Trail Bowl is located at the top of Route 1 (see Forest Service Map). It is gentle, open terrain and highly recommended for beginners. If possible a groomed loop will be maintained in bowl. The upper gate recommended for Route 5 (see Forest Service Map) can be used for shortest access to the bowl.
The nearest facilities are 15 miles to the east in Tres Piedras. There is no garbage collection. Please pack all trash out, including fruit peels.
The fence which crosses the lower end of the drainages marks private property. Skiers please respect private property. Don''t climb over fences.
Be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Skiing alone is never recommended. There are no marked trails. Carry a topographical map and a compass. If lost, remember that all drainages lead down to US 64.
Most terrain in the area is fairly gentle, and is suitable for the beginning or intermediate skier. Some descents from ridges, or firm snow conditions, may require good speed control and turning skills.
Beware, fallen branches or logs may be hidden beneath the snow.
Snowmobiles are rarely seen but are not excluded from the area.
This is an excellent intermediate cross-country ski trail with beautiful views of meadows and aspen. This canyon also accesses Burned Mountain for more advanced skiers.
Map + Directions
Routes 1, 2 and 6 begin and end at 9100 feet (2774 meters). Junction of US 64 and Forest Road 795. There is a sign for Forest Road 795 on US Highway 64.
Routes 3 and 4 begin and end at 8640 feet (2633 meters). Junction of US 64 and Forest Road 718. There is a sign for Maquinita Canyon on US Highway 64.
From Taos: Go west on highway US 64 about 27 miles to Tres Piedras. Cross US 285 and continue on US 64 approximately 15 miles to Maquinita Canyon and Forest Road 718 on the left. Forest Road 718 is the entrance for routes 3 and 4. There is a Forest Service bar gate at Forest Road 718. This gate is located approximately 0.7 miles east of junction of US 64 and Forest Road 133.
From Espanola: Go north on US 285 approximately 50 miles to Tres Peidras. Turn left on US 64 and drive approximately 15 miles to Maquinita Canyon and Forest Road 718 on the left. Forest Road 718 is the access for routes 3 and 4. There is a Forest Service bar gate at Forest Road 718. This gate is located approximately 0.7 miles west of junction US 64 and Forest Road 133.
To begin route 1, 2 or 6 continue from Maquinita Canyon approximately 1.5 miles on US 64 to the Trail head (Entrance A). Park there and go south from the highway.
Note that route 5 begins about one mile west of Entrance A (at wire gate) and ends at Entrance B. (Arrange for pick-up at Entrance B).