Pueblo Canyon Rim Loop
Contact Info

Pueblo Canyon is a deep gash in the Pajarito Plateau that runs through the center of Los Alamos.Trails follow the canyon bottom and the south rim, but the north rim is a shear wall of orange volcanic tuff, spewed as ash from the Valles caldera about one million years ago.The rim route offers stunning views of the canyon and the mountains of northern New Mexican, while the canyon trail passes through tall ponderosa pines in open stands.Also within the canyon are clusters of tent rocks created from dense rocks capping spires of tuff.This loop follows the rim, drops into the canyon on the appropriately named Zipline Trail, and picks up the Tent Rocks Trail to wind back to the west.

Finding the Trailhead: From 15th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Los Alamos, head west (towards the Jemez Mountains) on Central.In 0.4 miles, past Ashley Pond and the Mesa Public Library, turn right into the Aquatic Center parking area.Ample parking is available.The trailhead is just left of the entrance to the aquatic center.

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The Trip: Head north on the Ranch School Trail past the entrance to Kinnikinnik Park and down a broad switchback into Acid Canyon. Stay right at the junction with the Acid Canyon Trail, and then, just before dropping into a narrow canyon, bear right onto the Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail. This trail follows a fenceline and climbs four tight switchbacks before leveling out on a bench trail that continues for about a mile. Round the point of Graduation Canyon and pick up the trail with the same name, heading south and out of the canyon. In a few minutes, reach the paved Los Alamos Mesa Trail. Turn left and continue to near the end of that trail where the Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail continues as a dirt path.

Skirt behind the Los Alamos Airport buildings and continue east as the trail parallels the airport fence. A few yards after a steep drop, the Zipline Trail turns off to the left.The Zipline Trail wastes no time descending into the canyon on more than a dozen steep switchbacks.Near the canyon bottom, turn left onto the Tent Rocks Trail.This trail winds through pine forest for about a mile before crossing the channel and ending at the dirt Pueblo Canyon Trail. Turn left and continue up the canyon and past tent rocks.After the second stream crossing, stay left and watch for the Ranch School Trail.Turn left onto this trail, cross the stream again and follow the trail back to the trailhead.

 

Tips:

Along the loop, the trail passes on wide benches above sheer cliffs, so be watchful of children on this hike.

The Camp Hamilton Trail leading downhill from the tip of the mesa is rutted and in need of repair. Rock cairns clearly mark the route around and between the conservation areas.

The remains of the log Camp Hamilton are a bushwhack from the road in the canyon bottom.

Along the road in Pueblo Canyon there are two places where you have to cross the effluent outflow from the Los Alamos wastewater plant. Usually it is an easy hop across, but the water is very clean. Just don't drink it.

The Tent Rocks and Zipline trails were built from 2008 and 2011 by a variety of youth groups in Los Alamos: the Family YMCA's Y Environmental Service Corps, Boy Scouts from Troop 122, and the YMCA's Youth Conservation Corps.

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Summary Link Web Part

Update on Trail Conditions
Update on trail conditions

Contact Information

Open Space Specialist
Eric Peterson
Parks Division
505 663-1776