Wednesday, September 12, 2012

La Tierra Trails - Trail 34

Frenchys field Santa Fe
Sunflowers and the Sangre de Cristos at Frenchy's Field
If you make it a point to get out to La Tierra from time-to-time and cruise a few miles of singletrack (on foot or bike), you've no doubt noticed that it has become fairly awesome. This is the work of a few local groups most notably the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society - our resident mountain bike club - and the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe. With the support of dozens of volunteers and the financial support of REI, IMBA, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, and now the City of Santa Fe, these groups have slowly transformed the trails from meandering jeep-track to a jewel of a recreational trail network. The work being done out there has been considerable, to the point that the folks with SFFTS landed this year's IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit (the other finalist was Tahoe, CA). A stunning development actually, and the basis for this.

Trail 34 - up top and exit right
Aside from improving and building new track, the good folks with SFFTS also helped to map out the existing network and to add signage at trail intersections to help navigate this map. Taken together this an enormous plus to those who love running out there but dislike getting lost and tacking on an extra three or four miles every time out (that would be me - and my sense of direction is actually quite good). Alright, now with this new map I noticed immediately that there was a line that ran right off the page!, traveling east from the cell phone tower on Camino de los Montoyas, clear out to Ridgetop Rd. I had explored some of this trail a few times before only to get hopelessly lost, but now it appeared I had the upper-hand.

The trail is marked as 34. To be precise, it begins as trail 31 and then becomes trail 34 for most of its eastward travel. What makes this trail so magnificent, sublime even, is that it fills a missing link to circumnavigate Santa Fe almost entirely by trail. And piecing that together is what I've been doing with my free time over the last couple weeks.

Townie (Super) Loop - Distance: ~21 miles
Duration: approx. 2hrs by bike
Good For:  Mtn biking from your doorstep/marathon long runs
Trail Quotient: 90% traffic free

River Trail

Folk Art
Frenchys Field sunflowers
Flowers and morning moon

Santa Fe acequia mural
Acequia Trail mural

Santa Fe river mural
River Trail mural

La Tierra and Unity Church

Big blue at Trail 34

Route Description: Rail Trail north -> Acequia Trail west -> north at Camino de Chelley bridge -> Frenchy's Field -> River Trail east -> Mesa Vista Rd north -> Ortiz dog park east -> Camino de los Montoyas north -> La Tierra Trails at Unity Church -> find your way in any fashion to the Cell Tower (northeast) -> Trail 34 to Ridgetop Rd -> Tano Rd east over Hwy 285 -> Old Taos Highway or Arroyo Barranca -> SF Plaza -> Don Gaspar -> Montezuma Rd west -> Rail Trail south. 

View Super Loop - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

What's more, is that the Townie Loop has a twin... (*head exploding*)

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