Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
Hiking the Wrong Way on the South Boundary Trail
On a recent summer weekday morning, we had persuaded Meghan to accompany us on a hike, as long as it wasn’t too long or too difficult. We decided on the South Boundary Trail in Taos Canyon as it would be cooler than a hike further south and, while it was a 20 mile long trail, none of us were eager to hike the entire distance. We decided we would only hike as long as all of us were willing. As soon as the first of us wanted to turn around, we would head back.
With the terms understood, we drove the ten minutes from Taos, NM it took us to reach the trailhead. On a recent stop to the Kit Carson Forest Services Office in Taos, we were able to obtain a copy of a map of the trail. The woman there also informed us that the trail was very popular with mountain bikers; in fact, she stated that people come from all over the country to bike the trail.
Soon, however, we began to climb. After we had climbed steadily for ten minutes we came to a fork in the path. The right fork continued to climb while the left continued as a level path, clearly much more appealing. While I was thinking we probably needed to climb some more, Terry and Meghan opted for us to take the easier trail. The map we had brought was absolutely no help and there was no signage once we left the trailhead.
So, left we hiked. The trail continued on an even keel for while, then climbed a bit, then began to descend. We hiked down until we were near the creek we had crossed on the way in, only further along its course. We hiked past another parking lot providing access to the trail, continued past several primitive campsites, then eventually reached an apparent dead end.
Our only option was to turn around. We turned and headed back the way we had come. Meg was not terribly pleased, but was taking the lead. As she hiked past the point of the fork in the trail, we allowed her to continue. We hiked on for about another 15 minutes. Finally she asked how to get back. We informed her we had passed the forkand she agreed to hike on for a bit. We were climbing again now, and all of us were huffing and puffing as we hiked. We continued on for yet another 15, climbing the entire time. Also, the trail had taken on a sameness and as we had already been out about an hour and a half, it was starting to get a bit old.
When Terry stopped to take a telephone call (I can’t believe he had reception up there), Meg and I sat on a rock and agreed to turn around. We headed back, having had a good workout and an interesting hike, and reached the trailhead in about 20 minutes as it is a bit quicker going down. We were puzzled as we had seen no mountain bikers, but given the rockiness and the steepness of the trail, were not surprised. Who, in their right mind would mountain bike that trail?
Terry and I did make a plan to come back and hike the trail entirely the right way to see what we could see if we had a bit more time. At this point we did not understand the appeal that would draw riders from across the country to visit.
Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.