Guadalupe Ruin in the Rio Puerco Valley


Guadalupe Ruin is a Chacoan outlier next to the Rio Puerco. The ruin is open to the public (so I don’t have to hide its location). The self-guided tour includes a walk up the steep side of a butte but it’s way too short to call a hike; instead, set aside an hour to visit Guadalupe Ruin when you’re in the area. The trip is a good example of how far you can get from paved roads and other mixed blessings of modern civilization, when you’re exploring New Mexico.

The trip from the Big I in Albuquerque to the parking area is about 2 1/2 hours. A lot of the local countryside is shale, so don’t try this one after heavy rain or snow.

From San Ysidro, head northwest on US 550. At 35 deg. 42.693 min. N, 106 deg. 56.303 min. W, turn left (west) onto CR 279. Reset your trip meter after the turn. Past the village of San Luis, where the paved road makes a right turn, continue straight (southwest) through the cattle guard. As the obvious main road bends west, you will pass north of El Cabezón (and its namesake village, out of sight, next to the Rio Puerco).

At 35 deg. 37.936 min. N, 107 deg. 6.474 min. W (Mile 13) the road forks. Continue straight (right fork, to west).

At 35 deg. 37.575 min. N, 107 deg. 11.435 min. W (Mile 17.5), the road forks. Turn left (south). Cross the Arroyo Chico on a bridge at Mile 20.5, after dropping into a valley.

At 35 deg. 34.896 min. N, 107 deg. 12.441 min. W (Mile 22), the road forks. Again, turn left (south). Continue south and east and pass through Guadalupe (Mile 26). 


At 35 deg. 30.998 min. N, 107 deg. 7.683 min. W (Mile 31.2), right after passing over a rise, pull off to the left to park, and take the trail up to Guadalupe Ruin.