Our gravel ride out and back on forest road 376 to Gilman Tunnels was unexpectedly awesome! We rode an out and back that was 38 miles with 3233′ of climbing. The gravel is good the entire way and there is a small bit of pavement at the bottom through the tunnels.
The route was part of the former Santa Fe Northwestern Railway through the canyon which was used to haul lumber from the Jemez Mountains. The railway opened in 1924 but never recovered financially from the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and ceased operations in May 1941 following flood damage from the Rio Guadalupe. Up top the ride goes alongside expansive meadows with interesting rock formations everywhere. Further down we entered Guadalupe Box Canyon and it was amazing.
The rocky, steep canyon walls are quite dramatic and the tunnels themselves are a cool backdrop. The Rio Guadalupe cascades down the side of the road and bikes were the perfect vehicle to stop and explore whenever we wanted. It’s a narrow road so most cars can’t do so. See, bikes rule!