If you’ve got a car that’s built for rough terrain (or a car you don’t particularly care about), you can find the Trigo Canyon trailhead at the abandoned JFK Campground by driving across the desert east of Los Lunas.
Though you’ll enjoy an unimpeded view of the Manzanos the whole way, it’s easy to get lost navigating the bizarre network of half-made dirt roads crisscrossing this portion of the Albuquerque Basin. Thanks to good cell service, though, you should be able to stay on track using a “satellite view.”
The trick is to catch the Rio del Oro Loop at Valencia High School. From there you’ll cruise east a number of miles until you hit Trigo Springs Road, which will take you all the way to where you want to go. (Here’s a Google Map of the route from the high school.)
Should you decide to make the trip, please keep a couple of things in mind. First off, it’s pretty rare to find a place as unused as this. Don’t go messing it up with human waste and noise pollution. Second, you will be a long, long way from help if you run into trouble. Be sure to tell people where you’re going, and be sure to bring emergency provisions.
As always, I’d love to hear about your excursion in the comments!
- Google Map From Valencia High School To JFK Campground (Google Maps)
- Trigo Canyon, Part 2: A Land Between Mist And Schist (Farther Still)
- Mountainair Ranger District (United States Forest Service)
(The above photo of the Manzano Mountains and Trigo Canyon Road is courtesy of Mag Kim.)