Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cycling Medio Dia Trail - Santa Fe

Cochiti Canyons from a distance
With snow conditions deteriorating by the day, I drove out to the Cochiti canyons on Sunday. I figured there would be plenty of snow up on the shaded Medio Dia and Bland Canyon trails but it'd be a better snowy ride than any spotty skiing I could find. John and Todd were supposed to be there with me but we sort of flubbed the planning and coordinating part, so I drove up alone. Got up to Dixon's at noon and there was only one other truck. The lady that walked over to talk was just a sunbather that came out to read and marvel at the canyon walls. She gave me a small gift of chocolate for the ride. Nice lady.

Entering Medio Dia on FR 89
The first creek crossing by log
The second creek crossing
Climbing up FR 89 from the apple orchards it might have been an Oct/Nov afternoon except my hands were a little cold. Ah! but some other kind soul sought to it to leave a glove behind on the trail. Very generous and giving people in these parts. I had ski gloves in the Camelback but didn't feel like using them this day. As the trail dropped into the trees and creek crossings I found lots of snow. Round a bend and into some sunlight and it was October once again! then snowy February, then October!  One creek crossing followed immediately by an ice bridge crossing. A fun ride.

February to my right

October to my left
The junction to Medio Dia and Bland Canyon
Icy creek and cliffs
I'd planned on riding up Medio Dia to the cut off to Bland, then down FR 268 but the post-holing and hike-a-bike got to be a bit too much in the last mile so I turned it around and came rocketing down what I'd just gone up. Riding Medio Dia is like riding Bandelier if you could ride the Monument trails. Some of the best mountain biking trails in New Mexico. Probably some of the best trail running in New Mexico. Beautiful beautiful single track, ponderosas stretching skyward, towering cliffs and blue sky, I had chocolate in my bag - all systems were go. Couldn't have planned for a more lovely afternoon.

Winding singletrack with an audience of ponderosa

Fall colors with cliffs

Defiant tree

Creek crossing otra vez
The Cochiti 100, part of the NM Endurance Series, is held up on these trails in May. The varied loops climb Medio Dia almost all the way to Highway 4 before circling back down to Dixon's on the Dome Rd. You know who plans on blasting those trails and recovering in the meadow afterward with a cold one? This guy, that's who. Also Todd and John because we're going to plan that one better.

Returning to the truck - Tetilla Pk and the Cerrillos from the north, Dixon's orchards down below
UPDATE:  A sad follow-up to this trail post. The entire Medio Dia canyon system was burnt out by the Los Conchas fire in June of 2011. Subsequent rains and serious flash flooding added to the severity of the damage. The canyon and neighboring canyons remain closed due to serious flood risk and are very likely un-rideable/un-runnable/un-hikeable for some time.

UPDATE (6/16/12):  I believe the Forest Roads near Medio Dia have been re-opened, as of last week. This includes FR 289 that connects north to NM Hwy 4 (and St Peter's Dome Rd), and FR 86(?) up Bland Canyon. I'd imagine the trail along Medio Dia Creek is destroyed like everything else prone to flashing and erosion last fall. I'd appreciate a note or comment on the trail/road conditions if you make it out to take a look. - HDD

View Medio Dia Trail - Santa Fe in a larger map


  1. Great post! It looks like a gorgeous trail. Can't wait to run on it once the weather warms.

  2. It was a gorgeous trail, maybe one of my favorites in the area. I'm kinda thinking I want to go back this weekend. Jonesing for chocolate candies.



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