v Outdoor Activities « Diamond Tail Ranch
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Diamond Tail Ranch

Outdoor Activities

New Mexico offers abundant outdoor activities for varied interests. One of the best sites for all types of adventures is the New Mexico Tourism Department website: http://newmexico.org. You’ll find information on hiking, skiing, ballooning, golf, water sports and more.

Below we mention only a portion of the opportunities for New Mexico residents.

AT DIAMOND TAIL RANCH

Star Gazing – In the beautiful desert night you can enjoy star gazing in the recently completed community star gazing park.

Bark Park – Bring your four-legged friends to play with others in our newly completed Bark Park. You’re sure to make friends and they will too!

Dan and Babe and Dizzy and Stump going to the Bark Park

Happy Tails to You!

Happy Tails to You!

Hiking Trails at Diamond Tail – Five new trails have recently been constructed within the community Open Spaces and extend for over 2 miles.  Sunrise Trail drops down the hills off  Diamond Tail Road between lots 35 and 40. In Phase II  between lots 65A and 67 Punkin Seed and Rocky Ridge Trails follow the eastern ridge lines for commanding views of the Ortiz mountains and the Diamond Tail community.  At the end of Rocky Ridge Trail dropping down and westward is Paintbrush Trail that connects through the open space canyons to Moonlight Ridge Road in Phase II near lot 75.  The fifth turnaround trail peels off of Paintbrush northeastish and is called Rattlesnake Ledge.  These trails add an enjoyable option for residents who enjoy walking and hiking,  The other and most popular walk in Diamond Tail is the loop around Phase I including Diamond Tail and Meadows roads.  This loop is just shy of 2 miles and is commonly walked by several residents and even some property owners who have not yet built their homes.

View of Ortiz Mountains from new Punkin Seed Trail

New Mexico has an outdoor adventure for everybody with Public Lands amounting to more than a third of the state, including 13 national monuments and parks, five national forests and 34 state parks.

Cibola National Forest – Cibola National Forest is a collection of land parcels scattered about central and western New Mexico. The forest ranges in elevation from an arid lowland deserts at 5,660 feet to a snowy, windswept 11,301 feet atop Mount Taylor (70 miles*). Lower elevations are characterized by rolling hills cut by sand washes and small canyons. Up high, prominent canyons and exposed rock faces define the mountainsides.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

More information is available for the US Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola

Santa Fe National Forest – The Santa Fe National Forest (44 miles*) is one of the five National Forests in New Mexico. Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in the 1.6 million acres covered by the Santa Fe National Forest. Elevations rise from 5,300 to 13,103 feet at the summit of Truchas Peak, located within the Pecos Wilderness (51 miles*).

There are 1,002 miles of trails, some maintained by volunteer groups. Opportunities abound for hiking, horseback riding, trail-biking, and 4-wheel drive exploring. Many summer hiking trails become cross-country ski and snowmobile trails in the winter.

More information is available for the US Forest Service www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (46 miles*) is an easy day hike through cone-shaped tent rock formations which are the products of volcanic eruptions. The national monument includes 4,645 acres of public lands located southwest of Santa Fe and northeast of Albuquerque, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. More information is available at the US Dept. of the Interior Bureau of Land Management site: www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/rio_puerco/kasha_katuwe_tent_rocks.html

SKIING

Sandia Peak Ski – If the Albuquerque area is your base, you can make a quick getaway to the Sandia Mountains and the 30 groomed trails at this intimate, 200-acre ski area. www.sandiapeak.com.

Ski Santa Fe – Just 20 minutes from Santa Fe, Ski Santa Fe (53 miles*) is on a 12,000-foot peak, 45 wide intermediate alpine ski and snowboard runs, and narrow expert trails flanking the Pecos Wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest. www.skisantafe.com

Taos Ski Valley – The Taos Ski Valley (144 miles*) features a top-ranked ski school, uncrowded slopes, abundant snow and endless sunny days to create a memorable skiing vacation. www.skitaos.org

OTHER WINTER SPORTS

Cross country skiers will find a trail bonanza within a 20-mile drive of La Cueva (71 miles*). East of La Cueva along Hwy 4, encounter five different ski areas, including an easy 2-1/2 mile loop trail near Redondo Campground and more difficult trails in the Los Griegos area, which offers views of Redondo Peak and Valle Grande. West of La Cueva, don’t miss Valle San Antonio Road, a five mile, one-way trip to San Antonio Hot Spring (68 miles). Soak in the hot spring and enjoy views of the Bandelier Tuff cliffs across the canyon.

East of Cuba (75 miles*) on Hwy 126, Blue Bird Mesa Road has a trail for any level skier, but cross-country aficionados will thrive in the challenging San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area with its large meadows.

Telemark skiers can practice on the west side of Corral Canyon on Hwy 4 east of La Cueva. West of La Cueva, Upper San Antonio Canyon offers telemarking on Forest Road 376, seven miles in from Hwy 4. Also, try the open mountain trails on the east side of San Antonio Creek.

Ice Skating – Blades Multiplex Arenas in Rio Rancho (20 miles*) is open for hockey, figure skating, indoor soccer and flag football. www.bladesnm.com

FISHING

Bait your hook or tie your fly and cast for bass, trout or bluegill.  North of Cuba, the San Pedro Parks Wilderness (63 miles*) www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/recreation/wilderness.htm#pedro is home to native cutthroat trout. Fenton Lake (69 miles*) www.emnrd.state.nm.us/PRD/Fenton.htm offers picnic areas, wheelchair accessible platforms and even ice fishing in the winter.

San Antonio Creek in the Santa Fe National Forest (74 miles*) offers plenty of catch-and-release fishing opportunities:  www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/fish/streams/sanantonio.htm Fly-fishing enthusiasts will be delighted by the Rio Cebolla in the Jemez Mountains. For information about fishing on the Jemez Watershed: www.anglerguide.com/newmexico/jemez.html and www.flyfishnm.com/watersheds/1jemezpage.htm

Sandia Lakes Recreation Area (19 miles*) offers several ponds stocked with rainbow trout in the winter and spring and catfish in the summer and fall. www.sandiapueblo.nsn.us/lakes.html

CAMPING

Stock up on supplies at local stores in Cuba or Jemez Springs, and then venture into the Santa Fe National Forest. Both towns offer hospitable gateways to this National Recreation Area, Wild and Scenic rivers and a National Scenic Byway. www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe.

Along the Jemez River is Las Conchas Campground and also near Jemez Springs is Jemez Falls Campground. Redondo Campground is one of the largest sites in the area, but more remote sites are nearby. North along Hwy 126 toward Fenton Lake is San Antonio Campground, which is handicap accessible and offers fishing http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/recreation/camping.html

After visiting Bandelier National Monument (56 miles*) www.nps.gov/band head west on Hwy 4 to find abundant camping spots in ponderosa pine forests or alpine meadows.

Cochiti Lake (41 miles*) has three separate recreation areas, two with campsites. The camping area on the west side of the lake includes a boat ramp, courtesy dock and 34 sites with electric hook-ups. www.cochitilake.org.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Beginning cyclists will find a peaceful ride beneath the shade of cottonwoods on a relatively flat trail that winds through the Rio Grande Bosque near Corrales (17 miles*).

Intermediate and advanced riders can explore Guacamalla and Paliza Canyons (46 miles*). The 7-mile Jemez Canyon Overlook offers sunny meadows as a reward for climbing steep hills. Off-road adventures can also be found in Placitas, especially along Tunnel Springs Road in Las Huertas Canyon, at mile marker 5 on Route 165.

An easy 10k ride is found along Forest Road 445 just past mile marker 2 on the south side of Hwy 165.

The following organizations offer trail descriptions and more.

The New Mexico Touring Society: http://pages.swcp.com/~nmts/

New Mexico Cycling: www.nmcycling.org/rides.html

WATER SPORTS

Sailing, windsurfing, and swimming enthusiasts will be delighted by Cochiti Lake, which is a popular year-round retreat. www.cochitilake.org

The Village of Jemez Springs boasts a variety of geo-thermal springs. The Jemez Springs Bath House (47 miles*), located in the heart of town, offers private tubs, massages, and aromatherapy. www.jemezspringsbathhouse.com

You can river raft, canoe and kayak in much of New Mexico, particularly in the spring after snow melt off. For much more information visit www.newmexico.org/play/water/index.php.

The City of Rio Rancho Aquatics Facility (17 miles*) includes:  an 8-lane 25-yard competition pool, zero depth 3-lane 25-yard warm up pool, recreation pool with play features, double flume slide, 2 multi-purpose rooms for party/conferences, spectator seating, water polo goals, and an ADA hydraulic chair lift www.ci.rio-rancho.nm.us

BALLOONING

In Sandoval County, there is sky, and there are clouds. There is also the possibility of the bright fabric of a hot air balloon, floating like a promise over the land.

Albuquerque is home to the International Balloon Fiesta (17 miles*). It is a world-renowned attraction and destination for kids of all ages. For more information visit www.balloonfiesta.com.

Year-round hot-air ballooning in Sandoval County includes competitive events the third weekend of every month sponsored by Top Gun, the local division of the Balloon Federation of America www.bfa.net. The Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association hosts the Friends and Lovers Rally in February (the weekend before Valentine’s Day) as well as the Jingle Bell “Non Rally” in December.

Many balloon events are held at the Rio Rancho Balloon Park. For information about specific events, call 505-892-1533.

GOLF

golf-shot

Pueblo de Cochiti Golf Course (29 miles*) was designed by world-renown golf course designer Robert Trent Jones II. Located on Santa Ana Pueblo, the 27-hole Santa Ana Golf Course has a challenging layout and an unmatched view of the Sandia Mountains. www.pueblodecochiti.org

golf-and-waterNearby, Twin Warriors Golf Course (14 miles*) is part of the Hyatt Tamaya Resort. Santa Ana New Mexico golf resort is like none other. Only Twin Warriors Golf Club offers this one-of-a-kind, nationally ranked Gary Panks-designed course at the state’s first high desert, true destination resort club. http://tamaya.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/activities/golf/index.jsp

Atop the West Mesa, Rio Rancho Golf Course (505-892-8440) is popular and convenient. www.rioranchonm.org

SOCCER

The New Mexico Soccer Tournament Complex, a recently-completed premier tournament complex that boasts 22 international-sized fields, is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

The Complex has hosted many prestigious national, region, and state youth and adult tournaments, including the 2001 Snickers Far West Regional Tournament and the 1999 NAIA Men’s College Finals. In July of 2000, the Complex hosted the AYSO National Games Festival.

The Complex is on the Santa Ana Pueblo across from the Santa Ana Golf Course northwest of Bernalillo.

SCENIC DRIVES

Jémez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway

The Jemez Mountain Trail twists through time and terrain, contrasting vermilion desert cliffs and snowy alpine peaks, 13th century stone dwellings and the birth of the Atomic Age in nearly the same breath. Travelers may fish canyon waters at dawn, don snowshoes for a woodland trek, explore ancient Pueblo ruins and view elk crossing an immense volcanic caldera—all in the same day.  http://www.newmexico.org/explore/scenic_byways/jemez.php or http://www.jemezmountaintrail.org/whattodo.html

*Mileage is calculated using Google Map distances from Diamond Tail Ranch.

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