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On a Tank of Gas: Abiquiu Lake

On a Tank of Gas: Abiquiu Lake

Head Out to One of New Mexico's Best Lakes


Since the weather is still so perfect, this weekend’s trip will take advantage of it.

Time to prepare for some serious hiking.

Head north on I-25 up through Santa Fe to NM 599, which eventually connects with US-285 N/US-84 W. Follow this to Abiquiu Lake.


Albuquerque to Cerro Pedernal: 130 miles

A view of Perendal Peak from Kitchen Mesa

A view of Perendal Peak from Kitchen Mesa

The directions can get a bit tricky from here, because the way is through unmarked forest roads.

From US 84, head west on NM 96, then head south on Forest Rd 100. About five miles on this dirt road, turn left: This is the road to take to reach the peak.

Depending on the clearance of the vehicle you’re driving, you may be able to make it farther up the double track. Otherwise, the hike is about eight miles round-trip.

As always, check the map for accuracy and the local ranger station for road closures.

Cerro is Spanish for “peak.” It’s also known as Pedernal Peak, which is a bit deceiving, as it sits just below 10,000 feet. Remember to pack for the variable weather at that elevation. The peak is relatively small and can be hiked from one end to the other.

Pedernal rests at the northern edge of the Jemez mountain range and just southeast of Abiquiu lake – all of which is visible from the top. On a clear day, Wheeler Peak and the San Juan mountain range in Durango, Colorado are both visible.



Cerro Pedernal to Abiquiu Lake: 15.5 miles

Abiquiu lake

Abiquiu lake

Abiquiu is one of few lakes in New Mexico, and it is the only one with a spectacular blue tinge to it.

The lake has typical amenities: Boat ramp, camping, fishing, biking, hiking. In the summer, there are even a few spots to cliff jump into the lake.

It’s a nice spot for a picnic before heading over to Ghost Ranch. Even on its busiest day, there’s space to be found away from others.






Abiquiu Lake to Ghost Ranch: 9.5 miles

Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch is a family-owned spot that’s most known for its summer classes. It’s nestled amid variable shades of red rock.

Head to the back of the camp and find the trailhead. This trail, called Kitchen Mesa, is also an out-and-back. It wraps around the cliff and overlooks the ranch, Abiquiu Lake and Cerro Pedernal.

There’s also a short, class-four chimney climb before reaching the top of the mesa. The trail continues to wrap around until, at last, your breath is taken away by the stunning New Mexico landscape.






Ghost Ranch to The Blue Heron Brewing Co: 37 miles

Hiking burns lots of calories – time to replenish them with some beer. The Blue Heron is south on US 84. Enjoy the eats.


The Blue Heron Brewing Co to Albuquerque: 88 miles

Full stomach plus sore legs equals bedtime. Back to Albuquerque it is, then.


Stops 4; Miles: 280


Moriah Carty is an Albuquerque local with a heavy sense of wanderlust.

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Moriah Carty is an Albuquerque local with a heavy sense of wanderlust.
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  • Luther
    October 20, 2016, 12:51 pm

    "Abiquiu is one of few lakes in New Mexico" … that statement is absolutely untrue. There are at least 50 lakes in this state, at least 10 of which are pretty dang big. Poorly researched statements like that totally undermine the credibility of travel reporters and the newspaper they represent.

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