Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area, Mesa Chivato – New Mexico

Description: This hike along the Continental Divide Trail climbs Mesa Chivato in the Rio Puerco country about 70 miles northwest of Albuquerque. The cairn marked landscape changes from open grassland to juniper woodland to ponderosa pine forest as you climb the mesa. The views of the volcanic plugs in the Rio Puerco Valley are magnificent, particularly in the late afternoon as the shadows lengthen. Cerro del Ojo Frio and the Bear Mouth are prominent landmarks near the trail. Cabezon Peak, Cerro Quate, Cerro de Guadalupe, and Cerro Cochino are visible in the distance. This hike ends in about 2.5 miles at the rim of Mesa Chivato. Fall, winter, and spring are recommended times to visit this area as it is often too hot in the summertime for enjoyable hiking. .

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 5 miles round trip as an out and back.

This hike is family-friendly.


Directions: From Albuquerque take I-25 to Bernalillo and then US 550 toward Bloomfield. After you go through the Village of San Ysidro, go another 17.6 miles to the turnoff to “San Luiz, Cabezon, Torreon.” Turn left (west) at this “T” intersection onto a blacktop road. Go about 8.3 miles. At this point, the paved road turns right and the road straight ahead becomes gravel. Proceed straight on the gravel road about 3.7 miles to a “Y” intersection. Take the right fork and proceed about 1.4 miles to the next intersection. Proceed straight (left) at this intersection for about 3.3 miles to another “Y” intersection. Take the left fork, which is the main road, for about 4.2 miles to another intersection. Proceed straight (do not turn left) for about 1.0 mile, turn right at the intersection, and proceed about 0.9 mile where the Trail joins the road for a short distance. The Trail is marked with cairns; there are no signs. Park along the roadside. Note: dirt roads may be impassable when wet.

Maps: USGS 7.5 quadrangles: Laguna Canoneros

Other Information:  Please use the information provided on the new BLM website. 

BLM Albuquerque Field Office: (505) 761-8700

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance website