Distance: 10 miles (out and back)
Water: Yes, after about 3 miles
Season: Spring and Fall
Trail Condition: Good/Excellent
The Ojitos Trail follows a section of the Continental Divide Trail south from the Rio Chama for about 8.5 miles through a large valley, covered in sagebrush and surrounded by impressive red rock features. It eventually leads into a fir and pine forest with plenty of shade and running water. It is flat the entire way and an easy and pleasant walk with amazing scenery.
From Abiquiu, follow US-84 northeast past Ghost Ranch. A couple miles after the turn-off to Ghost Ranch, turn left (south) onto FR 151. Follow this dirt road a couple hundred yards past the 8 mile marker to the small parking area, trailhead sign and gated bridge. Park here to begin the hike.
After crossing the gated bridge over the Rio Chama, follow the two track south into the canyon for a few minutes before a single track leads off to the left, marked with a sign for the Continental Divide Trail – Trail #813. The tread is well worn and the trail is easy to follow.
By this point, you will likely be distracted by the large sandstone butte to your west. The tri-colored sandstone will standout against the green sage and on the day I was there, perfectly blue sky.
At an overflowing stock tank that supports a small wetland, the trail briefly rejoins the two track before veering off again on its own. At this point, the trail will be paralleling a sallow arroyo that hasn’t been taken over by sage with a ridge running behind it. When the ridge opens to reveal a side canyon to your left, the trail will follow.
Shortly after leading into this new canyon, the trail forks. Stay right and slowly climb to small saddle in the red rock ridge in front of you. From the top of this small rise, the trail will lead back down into the main canyon. For the first .5 mile, the trail stays close to the bluff on the near side of the canyon, crossing a few small arroyos. Eventually, it will lead to the small stream that should have water.
The trail will parallel the stream on the east side for a while before making its first crossing. From here, the trail crosses the creek frequently over the next 1.5 miles. At this point, the forest cover has change dramatically from sagebrush, to pinyon pine to well-shaded forest of ponderosa and fir.
Eventually the trail will start to climb out of the canyon and onto the mesa where it ends at FR 468. This makes a good turnaround point. If you’re in need of water, remember to grab some before the trail leaves the stream for the final, exposed and often sunny miles.