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What to expect

New Mexico has 1159 trails including medium, easy, difficult, and extra difficult trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Pecos River Loop and the one with the least climb is the Continental Divide Trail. The longest trail is Continental Divide Trail at 4800 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 33 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Capulin Volcano National Monument Visitor Center Loop a t 268 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include East Fork Trail, Hunting Lodge, Shaefers Peak, Tooth of Time and Tooth Ridge Camp, Mustang Alley, Fence Line and Bootleg Loop, Cordova Canyon Trail, and Viewpoint Loop Trail.

Guide to hiking in New Mexico

Be prepared for hiking in New Mexico with the HiiKER app

FAQs about hiking in New Mexico

What is the climate like for hiking in New Mexico?

New Mexico's climate varies with the season, offering unique hiking opportunities year-round. Summers, especially from June to August, can be very hot and arid, making early morning or late evening hikes most comfortable.
Conversely, the winter months, particularly December to February, bring colder temperatures and snow in higher altitudes, perfect for experienced hikers seeking a challenge.
Spring and fall, with milder weather and moderate temperatures, are generally the most popular times to hike. Always consult local weather updates, such as those on, before setting out to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Do I need a permit to hike in New Mexico?

For hiking in New Mexico, permits may be needed depending on the location, such as in certain national parks or wilderness areas. You can obtain these through the respective managing agencies like the National Park Service or US Forest Service. For comprehensive information, visit or

Is wild camping allowed in New Mexico?

Wild camping in New Mexico, often termed "dispersed camping," is typically allowed in National Forests and BLM lands, with restrictions around distance from water sources and roads. Always check specific rules on the US Forest Service or BLM websites ( or before camping.

Are there mountain rescue services in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, emergency rescue during hiking is generally coordinated by the local county's Sheriff's Office. If a situation arises, calling 911 is the best action. For non-emergency situations or queries, hikers can consult the New Mexico Search and Rescue Council's website at

Are there dangerous plants in New Mexico?

New Mexico's diverse ecosystems offer hikers a variety of flora. Desert hikes are marked by cacti and yucca, while mountain trails feature conifers and aspens. To gain a deeper understanding of the state's plant life, explore resources provided by the New Mexico State University (

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in New Mexico?

New Mexico offers diverse wildlife encounters for hikers, from desert-dwelling lizards to mountainous elk. Be aware of potential interactions with venomous snakes or scorpions in arid areas. To deepen your understanding of local fauna, the New Mexico Game & Fish department's website ( is a helpful resource.