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Valles Caldera/La Garita day hike

Sat, 2014-08-23
Bill Priedhorsky

Note Tuesday morning: I've added some additional information, including an excellent link, and hike statistics that are a bit harder than previously advertised.
Let's do a moderate+ day hike on one of the most scenic parts of the Valles Preserve. We tend to under-appreciate this wonderful area in the heart of the Jemez, almost in our own backyard, and it deserves better. Our destination will be La Garita Ridge (map here), which climbs a very seldom used dirt road to an open ridge at the northern boundary of the Preserve, with huge views south across the whole Valles complex. This is an out-and-back hike,  11 miles round trip and a 1900-foot climb if we go all the way. There is a great hike description with photos here. Another on-line trip description, with good photos,  notes that the hike follows "a dirt road up to the locked Garita Gate on the west end of the ridge. You don’t have to go all the way to the gate, though, to get fantastic views--just walk up the grassy face." We will leave Los Alamos at 9:30 AM in order to sign in and catch the 10:30 Valles shuttle to the trailhead. We will each owe the Valles $10 for access ($8 for age 62 and up, free for age 16 and under), and can pay at the Valles staging area. Please write Bill at by 8 AM Friday morning to indicate your interest and learn details; we need to let the Valle know how many of us to expect. Participants should bring lunch and regular day hiking gear, including clothing to protect you in all summer weather conditions, which can include heavy rain.

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