Old Cuba Road – Overlook Loop

Old Cuba Road – Overlook Loop Hike
In Cuba Region

Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10227
Last Updated: 03/23/2021 12:00am
Last Updated By: Marilyn Fixer
Hike Class: C (Challenging)
Hike Distance: 5.8 mi
Minimum Elevation: 6840 ft
Elevation Change: 240 ft
Total Uphill: 716 ft
Total Downhill: 716 ft
Avg. Grade: 5 %
Route Type: Loop
Protected: Yes
On Trail: No
Paved or Gravel Roads: No
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 170 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 1:45
Hiking Seasons: Spring, Fall, and Winter
New Mexico Game Unit: 6A
Hike Status: Published


Interesting sandstone formations, hike along mesa edge with wildflowers and views of the Jemez to the east.


Steep section up to and down from overlook. Hiking poles recommended. Several fence crossings (over/under).

Trailhead Directions

From Albuquerque take I-25 north to Bernalillo. At Bernalillo take US 550 west to San Ysidro. From San Ysidro continue for 28 miles to CR 11 (Hwy 11) on the right. There’s a gap in the wildlife fencing to drive through. This road is now paved all the way to Cuba. Go about 8 miles, past the tire dump, then park on the right at the top of the hill. Across the road to the west is a gated dirt road. Start the hike here.

Actual Hike

If the fence is down go around the gate. Otherwise go through or over the gate. Take the road west for about 300 feet where there is side road going south (left). Take this road to a fence where the road ends. Go over (or under) the fence and continue south bearing to the right toward the low sandstone cliff. Go along the base of the cliff to see various formations up on the cliff and petrified wood (PW) and STONEBALLS (1.7 mi) down below. At about 1.5 miles from the start it is possible to ascend the cliff to the UP1 point, shortening the hike considerably, but eliminating the OVERLOOK (2.8 mi). Continuing south, the sandstone turns to high gray badlands. After passing three such formations, and at the 2 mile point, head west toward a mesa which slopes down toward the surrounding terrain. There will be large petrified logs along this segment of the hike.

Head toward the mesa to the base of the slope and TRAVERSE (2.7 mi) up onto the mesa slope. Go left and up to the OVERLOOK (2.8 mi). Enjoy walking around the small mesa top for a variety of views. This is also a good lunch spot. Return off of the mesa and head north toward the low sandstone cliffs to the UP (3.5 mi) point. Go up top and northward along the mesa edge. There are interesting formations such as the “Easter Island Statue” (EASTERSTAT (3.6 mi)), with good views of the Nacimiento Uplift of the Jemez Mountains to the east. You’ll join an ATV RD (3.7 mi). Stop to look at the formation that looks like two old women arm in arm (TWO OLD WMN (4.0 mi)) and a VIEW (4.1 mi) of the valley below. Later take a detour to see the YELLOWHOO (4.5 mi). At the north end of this ridge at the HOODOOS (5.2 mi) bear right, going down the ridge to join the south going route. Then return to parking.


The lower portion of this hike can be very muddy in the morning on winter days. The footing may be better if you hike further away from the cliffs. If you choose to hike this in the fall, balance the desire for cooler days with the advent of hunting season. In September 2011 we saw many wildflowers and three cow elk. For an easier version of this hike that stays up on the mesa, see the Old Cuba Road Mesa hike.


Hwy 11: N35 51.499, W106 58.157 (access from the south)
INT 550-Hwy11: N36 00.691, W106 58.088 (access from the north)

UP1: N35 57.572, W106 58.127
PARK: N35 58.641, W106 57.320
FENCE: N35 58.464, W106 57.422
PW1: N35 57.847, W106 57.888
PW2: N35 57.676, W106 57.952
STONEBALLS: N35 57.506, W106 57.984
FENCE2/PW: N35 57.134, W106 58.397
TRAVERSE: N35 57.083, W106 58.591
OVERLOOK: N35 57.004, W106 58.603
PW3: N35 57.226, W106 58.562
PW4: N35 57.282, W106 58.574
UP: N35 57.465, W106 58.476
EASTERSTAT: N35 57.500, W106 58.426
ATV RD: N35 57.546, W106 58.378
TWO OLD WMN: N3557.605, W106 58.013
VIEW: N35 57.666, W106 57.995
YELLOWHOO: N35 57.929, W106 58.010
HOODOOS: N35 58.333, W106 57.676

Map Filename: OldCubaRoad-OverlookLoopImage_MW.jpg
Hike GPS File Name: OldCubaRoad-OverlookLoopWayTrackRev1_MW.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file
Additional File 1 Link Click link to download an additional file.

Text Author: Dick Brown
Map Author: Marilyn Warrant
Waypoints Author: Marilyn Warrant
Track Author: Marilyn Warrant
Maintainer: Carl Gervais
Editor: Howard Carr

Photos of This Hike
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