Ghost Ranch: Chimney Rock Trail
- Closest town: Abiquiu, NM
- Trail Name: Chimney Rock
- Trailhead: Chimney Rock Trailhead (GPS: 36.330585, -106.474685)
- Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
- Dog Friendly (dogs must be leashed)
From the town of Abiquiu, head north on Highway 84 for 13 miles. The turn off for Ghost Ranch will be on your right after 10-15 minutes. Turn right onto the dirt road and follow signs to Ghost Ranch, then park in front of the Visitor Center.
Important: We visited Ghost Ranch in November 2020 during COVID, which required pre-purchased day visit passes (about $10 per person) AND proof that we were actually New Mexico residents. At the time, if you weren’t a New Mexico resident, you had to show proof of your Airbnb or other accommodations and that you had been in the state for at least two weeks (presumably under self quarantine). I know that as I’m writing this, their situation has changes and the ranch is closed to visitors. Your best bet before visiting is to call them (505-685-1000) or to visit their website for updates so you’re not caught off guard by any closures or regulations.
So, assuming you’ve done your research and the ranch is open and you’ve purchased day visit passes, the next step is getting to your desired trailhead! There are many hiking trails to choose from but we hiked Chimney Rock, which was less than 3 miles round trip and had great views of the ranch and the surrounding valley. The trailhead isn’t obvious because it’s nestled between the museums and what appeared to be some employee housing, so just ask a ranch employee to point you in the right direction, or simply use the gps coordinate I provided above. There’s no parking at the trailhead, so just park at the visitor center and walk a few minutes to the trailhead.
From the trailhead, the hike is easy and self explanatory. The elevation gain is slow and steady, just take your time and enjoy the view. Snap a few pictures with Chimney Rock and head back the way you came! Ghost Ranch is huge and we admittedly didn’t have time to see much else, but we did visit the museums, the O’Keeffe Cottage, and Ghost House. Georgia O’Keeffe is a famous artist who spent a lot of time painting the landscapes at Ghost Ranch and eventually owned 7 acres of it. She loved northern New Mexico and made the Abiquiu area famous with her paintings.
Ghost Ranch was much bigger than we realized (21,000+ acres) and we decided a future return trip would be in order. I’ve seen photos of an ice wall that forms in the winter time on the Box Canyon Trail, which looks and sounds magical. We’ll be back!
As aways, please practice Leave No Trace and leave this beautiful place better than you found it!