Taos Vortex Ride
I have no idea why they call this ride the Taos Vortex, but it was a blast. The MTB Project app describes it as a grueling endure-techno rockhopping ride on the best foothill trails. The route is kind of a figure 8 of sorts and starts from El Nogal Trailhead which is right at the edge of Taos. Our ride was 15.2 miles with 2083′ climbing.
The ride starts with a quick spin up the highway for .8 miles before turning on a gravel road and then onto flowy singletrack that dips in and out of drainages and then climbs gradually through pinon and juniper forest. The gradualness wore off quickly and the trail got very steep and rocky. There are a couple of hike-a-bike sections and once we were good and sweaty, we reached Devisadero Loop Trail. Devisadero means “lookout” point or place and the Peak was used by the Taos Pueblo Indians to stand guard against the Apaches who would come down Taos Canyon to raid the pueblo.
After topping out on Devisadero Peak, the next section of the ride is along the top of the ridge and rolls mostly down. At this point we reached the “rockhopping” section the description referred to. The trail turns pretty technical with giant rocks shards and drops to negotiate. I really enjoyed the character of the trail here and the sweeping switchbacks and steep descent made the grueling climb worth it.
Back at the parkinglot, we crossed over and rode the Talpa Traverse trail all the way into the edge of town. This trail is constantly up and down with lots of tight twisty turns down into and out of arroyos. The trail, in my opinion, could use some sightline work. There are a ton of blind corners and although we only saw one person out there, I imagine it could get busy and dangerous. It was a blast railing corners and enjoying the day. At the end of the trail we hit some gravel and paved roads back to the lot.
We didn’t get sucked into any vortex, and were happy to relax back at camp drinking beer. We found a New Mexico beer called Happy Camper and feel it fits our life.
Ojitos to El Nogal Loop
Today’s ride started from the edge of Taos and was described as “a relentless climb followed by the best of the South Boundary Trail technical singletrack”. I concur. We did that loop and then added on a bit of extra trail to get even higher up for our descent. Our ride was 15.5 miles with 2732′ of climbing topping out at 9732′.
The relentless climb up Ojitos Trail is no joke. The first miles climbs steeply so that you’re hunched over grinding away. It was a warm sunny morning and we welcomed the shaded sections as we inched our way upwards. The trail teases a bit and levels out a couple times before kicking right back up. To make it even more difficult, there are a lot of sections of loose rock where intense focus is necessary and lots of slow speed balance is required to not get jolted off your line and stopped. The official end of Ojitos Trail is at the junction with South Boundary Trail.
We turned right and headed further up South Boundary Trail. This section is steep with roots and rocks everywhere. It’s technical climbing up into the aspens, cedars, and pine. It rained the night before and the wet forest smelled wonderfully fragrant. After a couple more miles of climbing, we decided to turn around and begin the payoff. This is the best descent!!!!!!
This downhill section of South Boundary Trail is a fast challenging descent that is loose at times, and incredible rock stepped in places, with switchbacks, roots, really everything. It’s black diamond for a reason but we rose to the challenge. All around, it was soooo much fun to descend. I could see riding this loop a lot if I was a local.
We don’t get internet at our boondocking spot but I loaded up on ebooks before we got here so I’m working my way through them. I just finished Influenza which is incredibly timely and terrifying that we are still facing the same known challenges with this pandemic. *Sigh*. I also read Between Everything and Nothing which is a true story account of two men from Ghana on their quest for asylum who migrated through up through South America to the US and on to Canada. Their journey is insane!