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NM76 Chamisal - Trampas s(u)

This is a smaller summit on the NM76 Truchas s(u) route, and contains one of the most attractive spots along the route, an old mission church at Las Trampas. On that profile this point just shows up with barely a 300ft climb on the south side. On the north side a series of rolling hills decend to the Rio Grande Gorge. So it counts as a summit on that loop.

The profile below uses another unpaved road to cut off the NM76 Truchas summit, using NM580 - CR69 from Dixon to Montecito. This can be a charming, ultra quiet ride, surrounded by badlands scenery sprinkled with car carcasses and rusting home appliances of Ojo Sarco. Looking at the map, Vallecito Rd may give the appearance of connecting this summit to the Rio Grande Valley with a few detours detours. But that road ends at various collections of ramshackle trailers and piles of unidentifiable debris in the dessert.

01.START-END SOUTH:Rio Grande Canyon, jct NM75 - NM68
02.jct NM75 - NM68, east of Dixon
03.jct with CR311 on left
04.profile turns left onto NM76
05.Las Trampas
06.TOP: N76 Trampas s(u),7780ft
08.profile turns left onto NM75
09.NM75 local high point at 7670ft, but not a summit
10.START-END NMORTH:same as point 2


From South.
NM68 along the Rio Grande Gorge is an interesting ride. But the traffic during spring or fall can be less than pleasant.

Never fear, the turnoff onto NM75 to Dixon is near and well signed. The road climbs gently into the layer cake geology around the gorge. Dixon seems pleasant enough, even has a bar and something resembling a grocery market - but best of all many adobe buidling scattered between the trailers and rickety fences, dead cars, and collection of objects that once were useful.

NM580 splits off NM65 in what seems like the last southern scatterings of Dixon. But there are lots more of Dixon trailers, old cars, refrigerators, the occasional winery and Californian resident' second home along the ample mininature curves of NM580. NM580 stops at a couple of parked cars, doubling as garbage dumps. But just before that, unpaved CR69 starts climbing into the badland ravines. This is the most scenic part of this profile, with a very variable grade and good road surface.

On top the first discarded cars and refrigerators of Ojo Sarco make their appearance. Many of them are parked in the shade under big old trees. I'm guessing, this is so the upholstery does not suffer too much over the centuries. Some dead cars are patrolled by stray dogs. There is a fork in the road at a church. Both optons lead to NM75. But the left fork is the one in the profile, which is also shorter.

NM75 includes 2 more rolling hills before the last short roll into Las Trampas. The peaceful old mission is a choice spot along this route. It was established in 1751 by 12 families through a land grant. The church itself was constructed between 1760 and 1776. When I visited here the first time the church was open. - Not so since then. A major attraction here is the absence of people in general.

From North. (also described upwards) The other option in Dixon is obviousely to stay on NM75. A steady climbing workout begins. Before the last small oval mesa hides the view in the back, it is definitely worth turning around and marvel at the layers of rock, some thin and flaky, othes thick and heavily crusted that have been layed bare in this side gorge of the upper Rio Grande. The high point before decending to Rio Lucio and the Picuris Pueblo is not well defined, somwhere in the dwarf forest, that is now surrounding the road. The peaks of the Truchas Peaks are now the main center of attention.

Even though there is a 300ft decend,I am not counting this as a separate summit. That is because there is no way to get a total of 500ft elevation gain on this side, before climbing to a higher point, even if it were possible to double back onto the other approach.

An ever so small roll leads into a forested valley. The two haphhazard villages that foreground the snow capped peak are part of the Picuris Pueblo area. Whatever businesses there once were are not open. Whatever roads lead to the pueblo itself say they are closet. Whatever signs there once were that people stopped here - they are gone. It's a shame. It is a very picturesque area.

Slideshow of Las Trampas and the unpaved southern approach

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayrides with this point as intermediate summit are on pages:
NM76 Truchas - Trampas
FR639 Truchas Mountains
US Hill Summit