Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gallup, NM

We really didn't know what to expect when we rolled into Gallup, NM after leaving Albuquerque.  The town was a bit rough around the edges as it was a old Indian trading post.  The Indian jewelry trade and a casino ruled this place.  Lots of cheap bars and even cheaper hotels.  If your a biker looking for a cheap hotel to crash in this town is full up $25-$30 dollar hotels.  We didn't stay at any, but this is a place to ride, eat, and sleep on a budget.  If you want to stay in a cool hotel try the El Rancho.  This is where all the movie stars stayed in back in the day when they were shooting westerns around here....it was good enough for John Wayne.

Much like a book you don't want to judge this town by its cover.  This sleepy little town has spent over a million dollars building trails here. Were talking full time (paid) crews building trails and they even have a (paid) person who's job it is to make sure the trails are in good condition. We met Chris and he was a cool kid.  A while back a project was started to turn this town into a recreation destination as well.  This project culminated in 2010 and the results can be seen at www.galluptrails2010.com.

There is three main riding areas.  The High Desert Trail network just north of town and easily ridden from town.  I'd suggest hitting up the visitor center in town and grabbing a map to this trailhead.  Ride it from the western trailhead and keep right going up and take the left/north trail going back down.  This is a gem of a trail and shouldn't be missed.  All intersections have clear maps and there is even art spread along the trail...I can feel the love that went into building this trail network.  Good stuff!!!

Here is a map of the HDT system....it also says all hikers are welcome, but everyone must yield to bikers (no joke).  Click any picture to enlarge as always.

More from the HDT...

The other areas include red rock state park which was closed for construction when we were there.  It looked like riding slickrock similar to Moab.

The other is Quaking Aspen just south and east of town.  This is cooler riding in the trees and has lots of great camping options around there.  Just head out of town towards Fort Wingate and look for the trailhead on your right after getting into national forest land.  Again no need for a map as everything is laid out perfect with maps at every intersection.  I suggest staying left and riding the outer big loop.  It has a fun end I won't spoil.

 This is a great riding destination and a hidden gem for biking.  If your around the area definitely stop on by and ride it.  You could easily hit two or all three riding areas in a day.

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