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Bobcat Pass

This pass is part of an often cycled two day loop, centered on Taos. Still - this is New Mexico, and motorcycle based motifs (like the one on the right) are easier to find than roadside pictures with bicycles.

There is an almost through going spacious shoulder on the west side of the pass - no shoulder on the east side. But sofar I have never experienced enough traffic that would make this a problem. This popular two day touring loop. goes over two passes. The other one is Palo Flechado Pass

1.START-END WEST: low point at National Forest Boundary on NM38, immediately east of Questa
2.Red River
3.TOP: 9800ft, Bobcat Pass
4.profile turns east onto US64 on west side of Eagles Nest


From West:
NM38 descends a minute amount from Questa and reaches a low point at a dayuse area and ranger station. The road enters the Sangre de Cristo Range along a vertical cliff where Longhorn Sheep often make an appearance in the evening.

A few mining areas are well hidden in the deep forest and the road gently climbs in the bottom of a green valley. Eventually the road reaches Red River, a mixture of low key ski / ATV resort. After that the first real climbing workout starts, and not far above the ski town I see my first irresistible picture taking opportunity, also remembering that this was the same spot I stopped for the same picture the first time I rode this pass.

That was 36 years earlier, and that time I got a good group of riders into the foreground. They were the riders near the back of the group. They were the most fun to talk to while riding. These rides were organized by famous S+M duo (nothing to do with sado... or maso, but Shayne and Margaret) for the Denver Bicycle Touring Club. Now 36 years later, there were also a few cycling types in the pictures. But they were the ones in the front of the pack and passed me at full speed on electric bikes, followed by a new ostentatiously painted up van, sporting the inscription of the private touring company, putting on this "adventure".  Maybe that's progress or maybe that's just the inevitable and unavoidable future.

The top of the pass reaches a meadow that might be the treeline. But the spot is nothing special, just a place for an ATV rental company to park all its vehicles.

From East. (described downwards) But immediately after that the first nice view of Mt. Wheeler, the highest mountain in New Mexico shows up on the right. It is the first of many views, every one slightly different. In spring Mount Wheeler is a sliver of white skyline peaks lining the forested hills below.

The road enters an expansive mountain park, which are so typical in the Rocky Mountains, grassy plains reaching to the mountains in all directions. This one has a large reservoir near its bottom, and another small tourist town, with a single main shopping street, Eagles Nest.

Here the profile leaves the traditional bike route, which continues direction Taos, and soon starts climbing again. Instread the profile climbs just around 150ft and descends along a valley on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. These 150ft are not enough to make this a separate summit point, but the elevation difference is easily underestimated because of the expansive view that it opens up.

A short steep descent leads into a state park where all camping hiking and recreating is severely regulated and charged. It is a nice quiet forest, and after that it gets only more restrictive. Past the small community Ute Park the road crosses into the Philmont Ranch area. This is an area which an oil company millionair has given to the boyscouts, who now control this area in the same restrictive manner as the oil company millionair did. There are several named historic pass roads in this area that are not accessible to public, unmotorized travel. I guess we are lucky that they let you stop on the side of the road. There is no shoulder anywhere on this descend. And even though there is definitely more than noticeable traffic, in my experience the majority of them are extremely careful and polite. Could that be the boyscout influence ? 

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

( < Laughlin Peak - Blosser Gap Rd s(u) | Red River Pass > )

Bobcat Pass x2: Goat Hill Campground a few miles from Questa <> Red River <> Bobcat Pass <> Eagles Nest <> US64 east <> Ute Park << turnaround point just east of Ute Park at State Park / Philmont Ranch boundary: 85.4miles with 5750ft of climbing in 7:08hrs (garmin etrex30 r4:21.5.20)