Chupadera Wilderness Trail In New Mexico

Here is everything you need to know about the Chupadera Wilderness Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New Mexico
  • Length: 9.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website: Info not available.

The Chupadera Wilderness Trail, located in the state of New Mexico, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The trail was originally used by Native American tribes, such as the Pueblo and Apache, who traversed the rugged terrain for hunting, trading, and spiritual purposes. These tribes recognized the area’s natural resources and sought to establish a connection with the land.

During the Spanish colonization of the region in the 16th century, the Chupadera Wilderness Trail gained further importance as a trade route. Spanish explorers and settlers utilized the trail to transport goods and supplies between the Rio Grande Valley and the interior regions of New Mexico. The trail’s strategic location allowed for the exchange of various commodities, including furs, textiles, and agricultural products.

In the 19th century, the Chupadera Wilderness Trail witnessed the expansion of American settlers into the Southwest. The trail became part of the Old Spanish Trail, a major trade route connecting Santa Fe to Los Angeles. This route played a crucial role in the development of the American West, facilitating the movement of people, livestock, and goods across vast distances.

Today, the Chupadera Wilderness Trail stands as a testament to the historical significance of the region. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can explore the trail, immersing themselves in the footsteps of Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and American pioneers who once traversed this rugged landscape. The trail serves as a reminder of the diverse cultural heritage and the enduring spirit of exploration that shaped the history of the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Chupadera Wilderness Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Chupadera Wilderness Trail. It is located near the town of Socorro, New Mexico, and provides parking and trail information.

2. Chupadera Peak Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the summit of Chupadera Peak, offering a different starting point for hikers. It can be accessed via Forest Road 235.

3. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge: This wildlife refuge is located near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and provides access to the trailhead. It is a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.

4. San Lorenzo Canyon Recreation Area: This recreation area is located near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and offers access to the trailhead. It is known for its scenic beauty and rock formations.

5. Socorro Springs Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the town of Socorro and provides access to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers.

6. Quebradas Backcountry Byway: This scenic byway runs near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and provides access to various trailheads along the route. It is a great option for exploring the area by car.

7. La Joya Wildlife Management Area: This wildlife management area is located near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and offers access to the trailhead. It is known for its diverse wildlife and recreational opportunities.

8. San Acacia Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the village of San Acacia and provides access to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail. It is a convenient starting point for hikers in the area.

9. Socorro Nature Area: This nature area is located near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and offers access to the trailhead. It is a great spot for birdwatching and nature walks.

10. Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: This wildlife refuge is located near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail and provides access to the trailhead. It is known for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife populations.

Transportation Available

1. Chupadera Shuttle Service – Convenient shuttle service to and from the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
2. Chupadera Trail Taxi – Reliable taxi service for transportation to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
3. Chupadera Trail Rides – Horseback riding service offering scenic rides to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
4. Chupadera Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
5. Chupadera Trail Bus – Public bus service with stops near the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
6. Chupadera Trail Car Rentals – Car rental service for independent transportation to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
7. Chupadera Trail Uber/Lyft – Ride-sharing services available for convenient transportation to the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.


The amenities available at the Chupadera Wilderness Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could be basic pit toilets or more developed restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles while accessing the trail. These parking areas may have limited capacity, so it’s advisable to arrive early during peak times.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the specific regulations and management of the Chupadera Wilderness Trail, there may be designated camping sites available. These sites could range from primitive backcountry campsites to more developed campgrounds with amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads.

4. Picnic Areas: Some trails may have designated picnic areas where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead of the Chupadera Wilderness Trail may have additional amenities such as information kiosks, interpretive signs, or visitor centers where you can obtain maps, brochures, and other helpful resources.

6. Water Sources: Depending on the length and difficulty of the trail, there may be water sources available along the way. These could be natural water sources like streams or man-made water stations.

7. Trail Markers and Signage: The trail should be marked with signs or markers to help visitors navigate the route. These markers may indicate distances, trail junctions, or points of interest.

It’s important to note that the availability of amenities can vary, so it’s recommended to check with the local park or wilderness management agency for the most up-to-date information on the specific amenities available at the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Campground – A primitive campground located at the trailhead, offering basic amenities for overnight stays.
2. Chupadera Wilderness Trailhead Picnic Area – A scenic picnic spot near the trailhead, perfect for a quick meal or snack.
3. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Emergency Shelter – A designated emergency shelter along the trail, providing refuge in case of unforeseen circumstances.
4. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Restrooms – Public restrooms available at the trailhead for visitors’ convenience.
5. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Information Center – A visitor center near the trailhead, offering information about the trail and surrounding area.
6. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Parking Lot – A parking area for trail visitors, providing easy access to the trailhead.
7. Chupadera Wilderness Trail Water Station – A water station located at the trailhead, allowing hikers to refill their water bottles before embarking on the trail.

Chupadera Wilderness Trail Difficulty Notes

The Chupadera Wilderness Trail offers a moderate to challenging level of difficulty for hikers. The trail spans approximately 9 miles and features a variety of terrains, including steep inclines, rocky sections, and loose gravel. Hikers will encounter several elevation changes throughout the trail, making it physically demanding. Additionally, the trail lacks shade, and the desert environment can be hot and dry, adding to the challenge. However, the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to spot wildlife make the Chupadera Wilderness Trail a rewarding and memorable hiking experience for those seeking a moderate to challenging adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Chupadera Wilderness Trail is located in the Chupadera Mountains of New Mexico. While there is limited information available specifically about this trail, here are some scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you may encounter in the general area:

1. Chupadera Peak: The trail may offer stunning views of Chupadera Peak, which is the highest point in the Chupadera Mountains.

2. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge: Located nearby, this refuge is known for its diverse bird population, including sandhill cranes and snow geese. It offers beautiful wetlands and scenic landscapes.

3. San Lorenzo Canyon: A short drive from the Chupadera Wilderness Trail, San Lorenzo Canyon is a stunning natural landmark with towering cliffs, unique rock formations, and hiking opportunities.

4. Socorro Historic Plaza: Located in the town of Socorro, this historic plaza features adobe buildings, a beautiful church, and a glimpse into the region’s rich history.

5. El Camino Real International Heritage Center: Situated along the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, this center provides information about the trail’s history, culture, and natural resources.

6. Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: Located to the north of the Chupadera Mountains, this refuge offers diverse ecosystems, including grasslands, shrublands, and riparian areas. It is home to various wildlife species.

7. Magdalena Mountains: Located to the west of the Chupadera Mountains, the Magdalena Mountains offer scenic views, hiking trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

Please note that the availability and accessibility of these sites may vary, and it is always recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.

Usage Guidelines

– No pets allowed on the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but visitors should be aware of seasonal restrictions and closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work.
– Camping is allowed in designated areas only.
– Campfires are permitted only in designated fire rings or grills.
– Visitors are expected to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash.
– Hunting and fishing may be allowed in accordance with state regulations. Check with local authorities for specific rules and permits.
– Motorized vehicles, including bicycles, are not allowed on the trail.
– Visitors should stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing wildlife or vegetation.
– Overnight stays require a permit, which can be obtained from the appropriate land management agency.
– Visitors should be prepared with appropriate gear, including plenty of water, sunscreen, and sturdy footwear.
– It is recommended to check weather conditions and trail conditions before embarking on the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.

Seasonal Information

The Chupadera Wilderness Trail, located in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, offers visitors a unique and breathtaking experience throughout the year. The best times to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the type of outdoor activities one wishes to engage in. However, the fall and spring seasons are generally considered the most favorable for exploring the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.

During the fall, typically from September to November, the trail is adorned with vibrant colors as the surrounding foliage changes. The weather is pleasant, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity, making it ideal for hiking and wildlife viewing. Visitors can witness the annual migration of sandhill cranes and snow geese, which flock to the refuge in large numbers, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

In the spring, from March to May, the Chupadera Wilderness Trail comes alive with the blooming of wildflowers and the return of migratory birds. The weather is mild, and the trail offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and photography. The refuge is also less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to enjoy a more serene and peaceful experience.

It is important to note that the Chupadera Wilderness Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or wildlife management activities. For instance, during the winter months, some sections of the trail may be closed to protect wintering wildlife. It is advisable to check with the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge or the local visitor center for up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions before planning a visit. By doing so, visitors can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the Chupadera Wilderness Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead for easy access.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A paved or firm surface leading to the trailhead, allowing wheelchair users to reach the trail easily.
3. Wide and Smooth Trail Surface: The trail is wide and smooth, providing a comfortable and safe experience for wheelchair users.
4. Gradual Slopes: The trail has gentle slopes, making it easier for wheelchair users to navigate.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail for wheelchair users to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with wheelchair-accessible stalls and facilities.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signs featuring Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides available for individuals with visual impairments, providing information about the trail.
9. Handrails and Guardrails: Handrails and guardrails installed in areas where additional support is needed.
10. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and facilities for wheelchair users.
11. Service Animal Accommodations: The trail allows service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities.
12. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
13. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at the trailhead and along the trail accessible to wheelchair users.
14. Accessible Camping Facilities: Campgrounds with accessible campsites, restrooms, and facilities for individuals with disabilities.
15. Accessible Parking Spaces: Additional accessible parking spaces available near trail amenities for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Chupadera Wilderness Trail is a moderately difficult trail with steep sections and uneven terrain, suitable for experienced hikers.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for extreme temperature changes, strong winds, and sudden weather shifts, as the trail is exposed and lacks shade.
3. Water Availability: Carry an ample supply of water, as there are no reliable water sources along the trail.
4. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the intense desert sun.
5. Trail Markings: Pay close attention to trail markers and cairns, as the trail can be faintly marked in some areas.
6. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of encountering wildlife such as rattlesnakes, coyotes, and birds of prey; maintain a safe distance and do not disturb them.
7. Hiking Buddy: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance in case of emergencies.
8. Emergency Communication: Carry a fully charged cell phone and inform someone of your hiking plans, including estimated return time.
9. First Aid Kit: Bring a well-stocked first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures for minor injuries.
10. Trail Etiquette: Respect the wilderness by staying on the designated trail, packing out all trash, and minimizing your impact on the environment.
11. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or restrictions before embarking on your hike, as conditions may change due to weather or maintenance.
12. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting the trail, as it involves steep ascents and descents.
13. Navigation Tools: Carry a map, compass, or GPS device to aid in navigation, as the trail can be challenging to follow at times.
14. Time Management: Start your hike early in the day to allow enough time for completion and to avoid hiking in the dark.
15. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by leaving natural and cultural features undisturbed and minimizing your impact on the wilderness.

Conservation Notes

The Chupadera Wilderness Trail, located in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico, holds a conservation status that reflects its ecological significance and the need for its protection. Designated as a wilderness area, it is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This status ensures that the Chupadera Wilderness Trail is safeguarded from any human activities that may degrade its natural resources and ecosystems.

The conservation status of the Chupadera Wilderness Trail is crucial due to its unique and fragile desert environment. The area is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions. It provides critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species, including the lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican spotted owl. By preserving this wilderness area, the conservation status helps maintain the delicate balance of the desert ecosystem and protects the biodiversity it supports.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the Chupadera Wilderness Trail ensures the preservation of its scenic and geological features. The trail offers stunning views of rugged canyons, volcanic formations, and expansive desert landscapes. These natural features not only provide recreational opportunities for visitors but also serve as important educational resources for studying geology and landforms. By maintaining its conservation status, the Chupadera Wilderness Trail remains a pristine and undisturbed area, allowing future generations to appreciate and learn from its unique natural beauty.

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