Hike Page

Plaza Blanca Hike
In Ghost Ranch Region

Map File Source: DeLorme

map Hike Key: H10478
Last Updated: 12/15/2020 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Warrant
Hike Class: B (Moderate)
Hike Distance: 1.6 mi
Minimum Elevation: 6060 ft
Elevation Change: 230 ft
Total Uphill: 370 ft
Total Downhill: 370 ft
Avg. Grade: 8 %
Route Type: Figure8
On Trail: Yes
Paved or Gravel Roads: Yes
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 220 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 2:00
Hiking Seasons: Spring, Fall, and Winter
New Mexico Game Unit: 51
Hike Status: Published


Though this is a short hike, the scenery here is spectacular, with unusually white cliffs and formations. It was a site in the movie “Cowboys and Aliens.”



Trailhead Directions

From Albuquerque, take I-25 to Santa Fe, then US 84/285 to Espanola. Continue north on US 84/285 north, staying on US 84 when US 285 splits off about 5 mi from town. Continue about 14 miles to Abiquiu. In Abiquiu turn right on to the road to El RITO. Go 0.5 miles and turn left at S TO BLANCA onto CR 155. Go 3 miles TO MOSQUE entrance road (look for the arch with “Dar al Islam” on it) and turn right. Proceed about 0.8 miles to PARK.

Actual Hike

From PARK (0.0 mi) go through the pass-through and down the dirt road, leaving the road and following a trail. At a Y (0.1 mi) keep right. The trail follows around several formations and goes along the base of the cliffs to your left, climbing upward toward the cliffs ahead. You will reach a high point, then find a path down to join another arroyo coming in from the left. At the JUNCTION (0.5 mi) turn right and go up the arroyo as it narrows and ends at a dead END (0.8 mi). Return to the T (0.85 mi) and go left up the side canyon to VIEW (0.9 mi) there you can look back down the white cliffs and formations. Then retrace your steps but at the JUNCTION stay straight. You will eventually rejoin your path in and return to parking


Though this is a short hike, the scenery here is spectacular, with unusually white cliffs and formations. It was a site in the movie “Cowboys and Aliens”. Combine this hike with a hike at Ghost Ranch.


N TO BLANCA: N36 12.574, W106 19.982
S TO BLANCA: N36 13.006, W106 14.850
TO MOSQUE: N36 13.413, W106 17.994
TO RITO: N36 12.656, W106 15.341
PARK: N36 13.927, W106 18.217
Y: N36 14.005, W106 18.149
JUNCTION: N36 14.202, W106 18.320
T: N36 14.297, W106 18.432
END: N36 14.306, W106 18.480
VIEW: N36 14.357, W106 18.459

Map Filename: PlazaBlancaImage_DB.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: PlazaBlancaWayTrack_DBDB.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Dick Brown
Map Author: Dick Brown
Waypoints Author: Dick Brown
Track Author: Dick Brown
Maintainer: Not Assigned
Editor: Howard Carr

Photos of This Hike
Click for caption and larger image