4th of July – Crest – Cerro Blanco – FR55

4th of July – Crest – Cerro Blanco – FR55 Hike
In Manzano Mountains East Region

Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10399
Last Updated: 12/15/2020 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Warrant
Hike Class: D (Difficult)
Hike Distance: 7.6 mi
Minimum Elevation: 7539 ft
Elevation Change: 1258 ft
Total Uphill: 1509 ft
Total Downhill: 1509 ft
Avg. Grade: 9 %
Route Type: Loop
On Trail: Yes
Paved or Gravel Roads: No
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 110 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 1:30
Hiking Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall
New Mexico Game Unit: 14
Hike Status: Published


You can’t beat the crimson, pink, yellow and gold colors of foliage in early October.


Cerro Blanco trail is quite steep in places; bring hiking poles.

Trailhead Directions

I-40 east to Tijeras exit. South on SR 337 30 miles to SR 55. SR 55 west to Tajique. Turn right in Tajique between the church and the water tower onto FR 55, yes, SR 55 to FR 55. Take FR 55 about 7 miles to 4th of July CG and PARK (0.0 mi). If the road looks bad beyond the Albuquerque Trail trailhead, park instead at PARK-ALT and take the 4th of July Spur Trail at TO 4TH over to the 4th of July.

Actual Hike

Start out with the short MAPLELP (0.2 mi) Trail. Then start hiking the 4th of July Trail (4TH (0.6 mi)). Notice the CAIRN on your way up. You’ll encounter intersections with the 4th of July Spur Trail (4TH-SPUR (0.8 mi)), Albuquerque Trail (4TH-ABQ (1.4 mi)), the Cerro Blanco Trail 79 (CERROBLA (2.1 mi) ) and the Manzano Crest Trail (CRESTINT (2.7 mi)). The OVERLOOK (3.0 mi) is a panoramic view. Continue north on the Manzano Crest Trail to a lovely grove of maples for LUNCH (3.3 mi), which is also out of the wind. On the way back, take the Cerro Blanco Trail at CERROBLA, and continue down that trail to the road (FR55 (6.0 mi)), then down the road to parking at the 4th of July CG.


This is a beautiful hike any time of the year, but especially in the fall. The 4th of July Trail is well-known for its red, orange, and yellow leaves of the Rocky Mountain maples. Even if the timing isn’t right and the leaves are already on the ground, they are still gorgeous.


PARK-ALT: N34 47.616, W106 22.358
PARK: N34 47.414, W106 22.820
MAPLELP: N34 47.408, W106 22.934
4TH: N34 47.594, W106 22.991
4TH-SPUR: N34 47.675, W106 23.256
4TH-ABQ: N34 47.834, W 106 23.619
CERROBLA: N34 47.552, W106 23.808
CRESTINT: N34 47.841, W106 24.052
OVERLOOK: N34 48.035, W106 24.139
LUNCH: N34 48.224, W106 24.032
FR55: N34 46.649, W106 23.499

Map Filename: 4thOfJuly-Crest-CerroBlanco-FR55Image_MW.JPG
Hike GPS File Name: 4thofJuly-Crest-CerroBlanco-FR55WayTrack_MWMW.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Vivian Heyward
Map Author: Marilyn Warrant
Waypoints Author: Marilyn Warrant
Track Author: Marilyn Warrant
Maintainer: Vivian Heyward
Editor: Marilyn Warrant

Photos of This Hike
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