High desert hiking is wondrous and unique. Ghost Ranch has three distinct trails that will take you through red rocks and hills, to lush green areas of forest and past dinosaur quarries. See breathtaking landscapes along the way. Listen to birds sing. Smell the aroma of sage mingled with juniper and piñon. Come explore the rock formations, flora and fauna at Ghost Ranch.
There is no fee to hike, but we ask for a $3 conservation fee. Also, for safety reasons, we ask that you check-in at our Welcome Center before hiking.
*NOTE: SOME HIKING TRAILS MAY BE CLOSED AT CERTAIN TIMES DUE TO EXTREME FIRE DANGER.
When hiking it should be remembered that the formations are composed primarily of soft and disintegrating sandstone or gypsum. Do not attempt to climb any rock formation or stray from clearly marked trails. Snakes are comparatively rare and most are harmless, but caution should always be exercised. Wear sun protection and carry plenty of water.
Click on the trail map below and view a larger, printable version.
Maps and guides are not necessary to enjoy any of the trails. However, information about the terrain and length of hikes is available at the Welcome Center. The most popular hikes are to Chimney Rock, Box Canyon, and Kitchen Mesa. The Continental Divide Trail also runs through Ghost Ranch.
The trail head for this most popular hike is located at the arroyo behind the Museums and past the Corral Block complex. Cross the arroyo and follow the trail up the ridge. From the top there is an excellent view of the Piedra Lumbre basin. This hike of 1 ½ — 2 hours has wonderful views as the trail climbs from 6,500 to 7,100 feet. (Round trip — 3 miles)
Follow the road to Long House (by car if you wish). Continue past the Kitchen Mesa trail, the hogans and the upper irrigation pond. Follow trail signs up the canyon. At a small pool, cross the arroyo where the trail continues on the right bank and takes you over large rocks to the box of the canyon. For a shorter hike, turn back at the small pool. This hike follows a gently uphill grade from 6,400 to 6,900 feet. (Round trip — 4 miles)
Entrada cliffs above the Dining Hall – The marked trail begins just past the chain across the road at Long House (see Box Canyon guide). The trail goes behind Kitchen Mesa before it ascends to the top. This more difficult hike includes a 15-foot chimney through a cleft in the cliff. The 3-4 hour trip climbs from 6,500 to 7,100 feet. (Round trip — 5 miles)
Ghost Ranch offers guided hikes with our Adventure Day Pass.