Hiking Trails

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.


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.

GR_General-Map-Final-Color_web_smlMaps 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.

Chimney Rock:
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)

Box Canyon:
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)

Kitchen Mesa:
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)

Guided Hikes:
Ghost Ranch offers guided hikes with our Adventure Day Pass.
Private Guided Hikes: Available year-round by special arrangement and for an additional fee. Contact Stefan Link at stefanl@ghostranch.org or 505.685.1000 ext 4602. If you do not receive your email confirmation within 24 hours, please check your spam folder. If it is not there, please call us and let us know.
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