What are your favorite activities when you visit Wilderness?

Summertime in New Mexico

The first day of summer is right around the corner, and there are so many good reasons to get outside. Not to mention, New Mexico is beautiful in June! The cacti are in full bloom, and since the average elevation is 5,700 feet we are blessed with mild high-desert weather. People are out and about using our beloved Wilderness for a variety of reasons, and we are going to share this month’s top activities! 

Before we get too excited, we will preface this blog with some CDC guidelines. According to the CDC best practice is still to visit parks that are close to home, and stay at least six feet away from others. Also, try to avoid crowded parks and using playground facilities. New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Division also offers helpful guidelines on getting outdoors during the pandemic.

“There are 23.2 million acres of public land in New Mexico” 

June in New Mexico 

Hiking

Over the years we have collected some of our most favorite trails, and we are happy to finally be able to share them with all of you! In May we launched this robust Hiking Guide featuring descriptions of over 100 hiking trails exclusively in New Mexico’s Wilderness areas. Be sure to use our filter feature where you can screen for hiking distance, difficulty, and natural features. It has an interactive map feature too which allows you to see what you have close to home.

Our guide features hikes for beginners all the way to backcountry experts. If you filter for easy-level hikes, you’ll stumble upon hikes like La Ventana Natural Arch and North Sandia Peak, both of which are quick out and back trails under 3.7 miles with little elevation gain. La Ventana boasts some beautiful geology and rock formations, while North Sandia Peak gives you a vast bird’s eye view of Albuquerque. For a well-seasoned hiker, you can filter for extremely difficult and come across Headwaters of the Pecos, which is a 54.8 round trip hike that technically could be done in a day. This trail is not for the faint of heart and has a wicked 2,500-foot elevation gain, but you’ll be refreshed by natural waterfalls and Ponderosa Pines. So, whether you are interested in an easy day trip or serious workout, we have you covered!

Wildlife Viewing

Many of our readers are like the bears, finally out of hibernation! And they are out for another great reason– to experience mother nature. New Mexico has a lot to give to those who are patient. If you filter for “bird watching” on our Hiking Guide you’ll find 50 trails that match that filter. The ecosystem here is one of the most loved things about New Mexico’s Wilderness. New Mexico is one of the most diverse southwestern states because it has so many different life zones: the alpine tundra, coniferous forests, woodlands, grasslands, desert shrublands, and riparian areas.

 New Mexico is home to more than 4,500 different species of plants and animals. 

When you are out exploring you might see some big NM critters such as black bear, mule deer, elk, mountain lions, coyotes, or bobcats. When outside, try turning your music off and walking quietly. In your stillness, you will be more likely to come across wildlife. As you probably know, right now our organization is prioritizing protecting the native Mexican gray wolves. You can support our efforts here. That diversity in addition to the natural springs that are fed by our white snow caps make it the perfect place for wildlife to thrive.

Backpacking

June is among the best times of year to backpack! Our Hiking Guide features a great trail called Upper Frijoles Falls which winds through the Bandelier backcountry. This hike is a 21-mile loop and showcases just about everything you could ask for. In a time where most group activities are closed, this is the perfect vacation.

You can use backpacking trips to create camaraderie and connect with the people closest to you, especially when cell service runs out.  With the right hiking boots and gear, you’ll find yourself in a whole new world. There is almost nothing more rewarding than summiting a peak with a few extra pounds on your back. Get out for a while, let the dog roam free, and allow your brain to unwind. But before you go, don’t forget to jot down our Backcountry Green Chili Stew recipe!

Hiking NM

Fishing

Another special feature in our Hiking Guide? You can filter for fish! There are nine trails that populate and lead to good fishing. A favorite is the  West Fork of Rio Santa Barbara in the Pecos Wilderness where you might find trout! According to NewMexico.org the top five fishing spots in New Mexico are: the Pecos River, the San Juan River, the Upper Rio Grande River, the Cimarron River, and the Chama River. New Mexico fishing is loved by many for many reasons, but one of the top reasons? New Mexico is largely undiscovered. If you are in need of some solace, this is the perfect summer daytime hobby to pick up. 

“The Department of Game and Fish is committed to maintaining the quality of the state’s fisheries, improving fish habitat and restoring native sport fishes, while also providing outstanding recreational [fishing] opportunities for the public.” 

Among New Mexico waters you might find largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, catfish, bluegills, perch, pike; as well as a variety of trout species in lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state. New Mexico Game and Fish is actually providing free fishing classes to kids and adults here. Enjoy!

Nature Photography

 One of the beautiful things about living in 2020 is that we can snap and share once in a lifetime moments that happen upon us out in the wild. Many New Mexicans are out getting shots that are breathtaking. The beauty of this hobby is that it has become portable and so easily shareable. You don’t need a high-end camera to get good shots. See these simple tips from the iPhone Photography school. In short, be patient, get up close, and start out with a simple nature photoshoot.

Lichen

Outdoor Yoga

Another great way to enjoy the wild is through yoga. Take a friend or go it solo, but yoga is a great way to really get in touch with yourself and New Mexico. Getting away from the city and grounding yourself on a mountainside can really help with stress and anxiety. Other yoga benefits include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone, and strength, and even helps protect you from injuries. Find the perfect app to accompany you into the wild, but be sure to download your class beforehand in case you lose service. New Mexicans all over are using these tools to re-energize and connect with the wild. 

 

Instagram Contest Giveaway!

Are you following us on Instagram yet? If not, connect with us here. We would love nothing more than to see your beautiful photos in the Wilderness. Please tag us in your New Mexico photos @nmwilderness and hashtag #NMwildfaves. Later this month we will select the user with the most unique wilderness activity and the winner will get one of our awesome NM Wild hats!

 

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite activities when you explore the Wilderness? Please share it with us on our social pages.

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