Since the current snow pack in NM dictates that prudent riders get their trail miles in now, before the forests are closed for the summer, and the temperatures are so nice (for April), a few of us hooked up for a ride on Christmas Eve, at 1/2 of the Christmas Mesas.....
Gotta' ask, where is this ?. Topozone couldn't find it.
Hey, LG here ya go merry christmas:
Leave Albuq going north on I25 and take the exit going North 550 (Exit at Bernalillo)
Go ~25miles and take a left on Cabezon Rd. If you go to San Ysidero you went to far.
Cabezon Rd is dirt and will have a fork in it as soon as you trun on to it. One goes to privet gypsum mine and will say privet road. The left fork is the one to take. Go down this road ~2 miles and you will see a sign on your right. Park and ride. The sign is to keep out motor vehicles. Sorry for the about distances but I went last weekend and didn't take a GPS or camera (boy did I mess up). Mapquest
San Ysidero, NM and Sandoval County and zoom in you'll see the road. Also go to passion and see the thread called 3 days.
Then when you get there.........
There are probably several options for a ride at White Mesa but what seems to give me the most pleasure is to do this:
From the parking are just over the cattle guard at the fence where there is a brown sign that says "Public Lands", ride up the dirt road ~1/4 mile to just about the top of the hill. You will see a two track heading off to the right (north) side of the main dirt road that goes to a fence with a track around it to the left. Ride around the fence and go up a short steep bit to a T in the road. Go right and follow the main dirt road up to a hill in the distance that is north of you. This road will eventually begin turning left and continue up as you approach the hill. At the bottom of the hill you will notice several tracks going up on to the hill. Ride up there to the geosurvey marker and have a good look around. You will now be facing the point where the photo above was taken and you can see most of White Mesa in front of you.
From here I like to do the ride in a clockwise fashion. There are two trails leading over to the left (south, southwest) rim. Take the one further to the left as the one closer in drops down into some gullies that you will have to hike out of. Once on the rim you will have to cross two fence lines but the single track is obvious. It undulates across this ridge for a couple of miles with some short climbs and plenty of super fun full speed single track. Eventually you will drop down to a part I like to call the "bandaide" which is just a giant mesh erosion barrier that was put down when this section was bull dozed to put in a gas pipe line many years ago. At the far side of this bandaide you will be looking at a short cliff. You can climb straight up the middle or walk around to you left. Once on top you will climb a dirt road for about a half mile or so.
As this road begins to drop look for a single track banging off to your right next to one of the power line poles. The road drops off to the left and is very steep. Could be a fun descent on the road but the single track is better. (This single track can be seen from hwy. 550 as you are driving south.) Eventually you will pop off the far end of this ridge onto a dirt road. Follow the road around to your right, back tracking underneath the ridge you just rode out across. You will see several cow tracks that make for fun riding but make sure you don't smack your rear derailleur too hard on any of the many rocks lying next to the trail because this is the furtherest possible point from the car. Once you are out in the middle of the open flat cow pasture, you want to head directly across towards the hill on the far side with the shimmering soda dams on it. To get there you could just take the dirt road or you can follow one of the cow tracks. Eventually you will end up on this dirt road again.
Once on the dirt road, follow it past what looks like a single track off to your left and continue to climb on this road. The trail you see goes through an area of fragile soda dams that has sustained much damage from folks riding on it. You could continue to destroy this fragile landscape by riding it or you could just enjoy it from afar and climb on the road instead. The FOO folks will say otherwise. You decide what you want to leave for future mountainbikers to see.
After a mile or two and some minor climbs on this two track you will find yourself at a junction where the road splits. The right fork heads over to the Dragons back and you will have to hike out if you go this way. The left fork in the road continues to climb just a little bit more and then comes to another split. Take the right fork here, continuing another couple of minutes and then look for a single track marked by a pole off to your right. At this point you can see the hill where the geosurvey marker was. Just keep heading in that direction to complete the loop and then return the way you came.
If you hammer the entire route it can be done in an hour. If you stop and play or take pictures it could easily take 2 or more hours. The loop distance is something like 12 miles from the parking area. There are other options but I will not describe them here.
These are compliments of XTR Kona...shoot him a PM for good directions