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Calaveras Canyon To Pipeline Road Hike
In Jemez Mountains Region

Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10400
Last Updated: 12/15/2020 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Warrant
Hike Class: C (Challenging)
Hike Distance: 7.4 mi
Minimum Elevation: 8100 ft
Elevation Change: 420 ft
Total Uphill: 420 ft
Total Downhill: 420 ft
Avg. Grade: 4 %
Route Type: InOut
On Trail: No
Paved or Gravel Roads: Yes
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 168 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 2:00
Hiking Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall
New Mexico Game Unit: 6A
Hike Status: Published


The hike follows a grassy canyon bottom with dramatic craggy rocks, mushrooms and flowers. Some of the rocks have “Swiss cheese” holes in them, making them look like faces.



Trailhead Directions

From Albuquerque take I-25 North to Bernalillo, US 550 west to San Ysidro, SR 4 north to La Cueva, left (west) on SR 126. Once Fenton Lake is reached, it will be 4.0 miles from the end of the bridge which crosses the marsh to parking. Go past the turnoff to Seven Springs and cross a couple of bridges then look for the refurbished parking area on the right that now could hold 3 vans easily. PARK (0.0 mi) there.

Actual Hike

Go through the fence and follow the wash down to a 6″ pipe and go left along the pipe. A dirt road will take you up a hill where there is a gate. When you come down you will come upon a Water Quality Control project by UNM with many “mushrooms” of pvc pipe and a weather station. After about a mile, a rock formation that looks like a castle tower will appear. One of the formations, also about a mile in from the road, looks like a skull from the front, but like a gorilla or ape from the side. There is a side canyon to the left between POST1 (1.4 mi) and POST2 (1.7 mi). Further on, go by a TROUGH (2.5 mi), a BEAR CLAW (2.8 mi), a Water METER (2.8 mi), and another formation that looks like a SKULL (3.2 mi). Continue on past a WELL (3.4 mi) and some TANKS (3.6 mi) until you reach Pipeline ROAD (3.7 mi) (FR 527). Have lunch here, or back down the canyon in a nice spot.


Perfect Christmas trees of blue spruce abound. A striking feature of this hike is the Spanish Moss (“Old Man’s Beard”) hanging from the trees like slender chiles or icicles. The hike follows grassy canyon bottom with dramatic craggy rocks, mushrooms and flowers. Some of the rocks have “swiss cheese” holes in them, making them look like faces. Maybe this is why it is called Skulls Canyon. Thanks to Roger Holloway for his imaginative description.


PARK: N35 56.455, W106 42.383
POST1: N35 57.386, W106 41.467
POST2: N35 57.569, W106 41.381
TROUGH: N35 58.134, W106 40.973
BEAR CLAW: N35 58.371, W106 40.910
METER: N35 58.610, W106 40.832
SKULL: N35 58.732, W106 40.783
WELL: N35 58.811, W106 40.703
TANKS: N35 58.997, W106 40.708
ROAD: N35 59.135, W106 40.673

Map Filename: CalaverasCanyonToPipelineRoadImage_MW.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: CalaverasCanyonToPipelineRoadWayTrack_DMDM.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Dawn McIntyre
Map Author: Marilyn Warrant
Waypoints Author: Dawn McIntyre
Track Author: Dawn McIntyre
Maintainer: Dawn McIntyre
Editor: Marilyn Warrant

Photos of This Hike
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