Best OHV Trails Near Albuquerque

Best OHV Trails Near Albuquerque

Posted on May 8, 2023

It’s easier than you’d think to find off-highway trails near Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Thesefun, exploratory trails are just right for off-highway vehicles including ATVs, dirt bikes, sand rails and side-by-sides. We’ve provided a list of favorite trails below, with specific attributes in the details, plus a list of short, beginner off-road trails. See links for map directions.

Seeking a place to store these off-highway vehicles? Richmond American HomesUltraGarage® line is an incredibly desirable offering for outdoor-loving, adventure-seeking Mariposa residents. UltraGarage® is an attached, extra-tall garage designed to house a range of vehicles, keeping ramblers ready to hit the New Mexico trails.


Elk Mountain

There’s so much to explore in the round-trip 28.3 miles when you off-road near Tererro, New Mexico. It’s perfect for offroading, as the trail can take up to 15 hours on foot. You’ll find hikers, bikers, and dog walkers (leashed dogs only) along the way. Check the weather conditionsbefore heading out, as it can impact closures for this trail. Fire prevention in the summer months is crucial to preservation and safety in this area of New Mexico. 

Caja del Rio OHV Trail

Open to off-roading, hiking, and mountain biking, this trail is especially popular for nature-watching, offering beautiful views and quiet exploration. Elevation gain is 839 feet and a total of 19.9 miles in the loop. Best time to visit is after a rainfall, as it controls the dust, but be sure there’s plenty of sunshine to see the gorgeous views. Open year round.

Montessa Park Off-Road Area

Covering 577 acres, Montessa Park is perfect for off-roading vehicles to explore varying terrain, with plenty of hills for fun travelsThis park is designed for off-highway vehicles, making it one of the best off-roading areas around.

Montessa Park has no shade or water and camping is not allowed, so be prepared to park your vehicle if you are offloading a trailer. Be sure to be able to provide:

Vehicle registration
Proof of insurance
Helmet for riders under 18 years of age

Rio Puerco Off-Highway Vehicle Loop

You’ll discover gorgeous views from Rio Puarco OHV Loop’s 18-mile loop trail. It’s moderately challenging, with rocky and sandy areas. Not many people. Bring plenty of water, food and gas to get you through the excursion way out from civilization and cell phone service.

Mesa Gallina

Another fun, solitary and moderately challenging route is Mesa Gallina, a 46.5 mile out-and-back trail near Laguna, New Mexico with an elevation gain of 3,569 feet. Mixed reviews, but some explorers have seen wild horses, a herd of deer and other wildlife. Read the reviews at the link above.

Are you a beginner or don’t have much time? Here’s our list of:


Forest Loop Road 445

Forest Loop Road 445 is an easy 5.5mile trail with a few deep ruts and washouts. Trail runsfrom NM Highway 165 to the northern base of the Sandia Mountains and back to NM 165. The eastern side of the loop is easier. Nice trail that climbs into the Sandia Mountains.

Palo Duroso Canyon

Palo Duroso Canyon trail is a 7.9mile trail that quickly transitions from desert to mountain pine forests with wild flower blooms and has cliff-side views of the entire canyon. The road is closed occasionally due to weather.

Coyote Mesa Trail

This 3-mile trail provides panoramic views of the Sandias, Monzanos and Cedro Peak which you can explore with minimal difficulty. Word of caution, during times of moisture, it is easy to get stuck, especially in vehicles without off-road tires.

Cedro Peak Loop

This popular 2.8mile trail provides a great view of the east side of the Sandia Mountains, with numerous picnic areas. Use caution during monsoon season as your exploration will include a few deep ruts and rock shelves.

Dead Dog Trail and Santa Fe Ranch

This 4.1mile road is easy, but you’ll encounter some soft sand crossing Alamo Creek. This trail makes for a shorter way to get to Diablo Canyon from Santa Fe. 

Be sure to stay safe, bring necessities, let someone know where you’re headed and when you expect to be back and enjoy the journey!

Looking for a new home in New Mexico? Mariposa is a master-planned community 30 minutes north of Albuquerque in the appealing town of Rio Rancho. Near so much of what New Mexico offers, Mariposa is designed for living naturally. Mariposa offers a fully equipped fitness center, indoor lap pool and outdoor pools, parks, sports courts, miles of trails, abundant open space and endless views at the 2,200-acre Mariposa Preserve and surrounding mountains. Learn more at

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