New Mexico has countless off-roading trails scattered across the state, but these are our top picks for off-roading trails near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thanks to wide swaths of desert area, and miles worth of underpopulated land, finding off-highway trails near Albuquerque is easier than you’d think. Plus, thanks to this city’s proximity to countless protected land areas (including Cibola National Forest, which spreads over several areas outside of the city), there are plenty of camping areas to visit while riding the trails.
Most of these trails are made of off-highway vehicles like ATVs, dirt bikes, and the like, though we’ll note any specific restrictions for each trail, as well as the overall difficulty and distance of each location. Without further ado, let’s get into our top picks for the best off-roading trails in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Top Albuquerque Off-Roading Trails at a Glance
- Elk Mountain
- Caja del Rio OHV Trail
- Montessa Park Off-Road Area
- Rio Puerco Off-Highway Vehicle Loop
- Mesa Gallina
This trail is a little outside of Albuquerque but is well worth the added trek. Explore 28.3 miles round trip of off-roading near Tererro, New Mexico at your leisure. While the dedicated adventurer can explore the entire trail, most people drive only a portion of it in one day as it can take up to 15 hours on foot.
Keep in mind that this is a mixed-use trail and that there may be hikers, bikers, and dog walkers along the way, though all dog owners are expected to keep their dogs on leash. Be aware that weather conditions can impact closures for this trail, as fire prevention in the summer months is crucial to preservation and safety in this area of New Mexico.
Caja del Rio OHV Trail
This trail is open all year and offers beautiful views and relatively quiet exploration during the off-season. Open to off-roading, hiking, and mountain biking, this trail is especially popular for nature-watching. With an elevation gain of 839 feet and a total of 19.9 miles in the loop, this trail is sure to keep you busy for a full day of exploration.
Some reviewers note that the best time to visit this loop is after it rains as the dust can become somewhat intense while riding. However, be sure to visit on a sunny to take full advantage of the gorgeous views of the surrounding areas, and to avoid the mud.
Montessa Park Off-Road Area
This off-roading area covers 577 acres and is perfect for off-roading vehicles including cars, ATVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies, and more. Thanks to varying terrain and plenty of hills, this park is perfect for all kinds of off-road fun.
While all vehicles are allowed in the park, the park itself is meant for off-highway vehicles, making it an off-roading paradise. Keep in mind this park has no shade or water and camping is not allowed, so be prepared to park your vehicle if you are offloading a trailer.
Rio Puerco Off-Highway Vehicle Loop
If you’re looking for incredible, scenic views right outside Rio Rancho, check out this trail. Used mainly for scenic views and off-roading, this 18.3-mile loop is great to explore. Be aware that this trail is largely isolated, and bring enough water and supplies for your trip in and out. While there is no camping along the trail, the Rio Puerco Off-Highway Vehicle Loop is perfect for an exciting day trip.
At an astounding 46.5 miles round-trip, this trail is considered moderately challenging, and boasts an elevation gain of 3,569 feet, putting it well over half a mile. While this trail is open to OHVs including dirt bikes and ATVs, be aware that hikers may be present on the trail. Wildlife is in abundance near this trail, so be sure to pack your camera and be ready to take in some incredible sights.
Looking to take to the trails? Check out some of our Black Series trailer options. Whether you’re looking to tune up your ride or invest in some new toys, we have everything you need to explore the road less traveled.