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NM76 Trampas - Truchas

This is the highest point on a loop through old hispanic villages, modern pueblo outposts, deep forests and three separate Spanish missions a little older than the US itself, all below the Truchas Peaks, which make up the final exclamation point of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the south. The profile actually goes over three separate that have a minimum 300ft elevation gain. I only count one of them as a separate summit (because there is no way to get 500ft below the high point, even if doubling back to the other aproach were possible) The other point can be approached separately with larger elevation gains: NM76 Chamisal - Trampas

01.START-END NORTH: jct NM75 - NM68 in Rio Grande Gorge
03.turnoff to NM580 is on right
04.NM75 Dixon Rion Lucio high point, 7500ft
05.Rio Lucio
06.profile turns left onto NM76
07.NM76 Chamisal - Trampas s(u), 7680ft
09.jct CR69 - NM76, Ojo Sarco
10.NM76 Truchas s(u) -8100ft
12.START-END SOUTH: jct NM291 - NM76, Santa Cruz, Espagnola area


From West.
The description picks up from the NM76 Chamisal - Trampas s(u) page. But the profile above already contains that part of the route from points 1 to 5.  Past point 5, on sunny June day, NM76 between the Picuris Pueblo area and Truchas reminded me (I'm from Colorado) of the Peak to Peak Highway. This road winds over flowing ,forested hills with an interrupted chain of snow covered peaks above. In this case they reach 13000ft and are called the Truchas Mountains. Unlike the Front Range, this is not a continuous range of mountains, but instead a set of high snowy islands in a sea of flowing foothills. The road reaches a low point just past the village of Trampas. I think of it as a major attration along this route and there are a few more notes on the NM76 Chamisal - Tampas page. Now the road takes on the last hills before the highest summit on this day loop. There is a wide shoulder, no rumble strips, little traffic and lots of trees. At the top forest roads cross to higher points.

There are actually two points that fit that description. The real summit appears to be the more northerly one.

From East. (describe downwards). Sweeping turns lead to the first great view of the villageTruchas and yet another version of the Trampas Peaks view. Truchas is situated on the edge of a mesa. Clearly this location was chosen for something different than being easy to reach for people looking for shopping mall outlet stores on a weekend. The location above the valley and below the peaks is a choice location. The villlage attained a certain amount of fame in the movie "the milagro bean field wars".  Superficially, judging purely from appearances while cycling through it, it seems to not have caused any lasting harm. Looking around this old village is slightly off the profiled route, which turns right before entering Trampas. But it is the most interesting exploration along the entire route. The old mission there was built in 1775. Since my first visit the surroundings have been slightly modified. See pictures in the slideshow below

Meanwhile, back on the profile: Now comes the great decent into Espanola. Watch the landscape turn into a dessicated dessert, and Truchas slowly rise in relative elevation to the observer, still clinging to the edge of the mesa. At first the road is wide with a shoulder the width of an entire lane. Then, as NM76 enters Espanola and its "suburbs", the road becomes narrower and more heavily trafficked. The profile stays on NM76 to its junction with Santa Rosa Rd. Just past that is the 3rd mission along the route. But this one lacks the peaceful picturesque surroundings. If connectiong to points north and the Rio Grande Gorge, as the dayrides below do, it may be a good idea to cut through Espanola further north.

On the other hand, the neighborhoods of Espagnola are a fascinating territory to explore on a bicycle, expecially when only used to typical US suburban developments. According to a report on NPR from several years ago, Espagnola was (and probably is) also the main distribution hub for heroin arriving from Mexico. An especially unpredictable traffic area in my experience is the area around the casino. - Another famous attraction, the Chimayo Mission is also not far away from the route before entering Espagnola

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayrides with this point as highest summit:


( < FR222 Petaca s(u) | FR639 Truchas Peaks > )
P3: NM76 Trampas - Truchas s(u) , NM76 Trampas - Chamisal : jct FR667 - FR639 > down FR667 > Truchas > NM76 north > E  spanola > Santa Cruz > McCurdy Rd north > NM68 north with small detour > La Junta > NM75 east > Dixon > NM75 Dixon - Rio Lucio high point > Rio Lucio > Rio Pueblo > NM76 south > Chamisal > NM76 Chamisal - Ojo Sarco s(u) > Las Trampas > NM76 Truchas s(u) - Trampas > Truchas > back to starting point at jct FR667 - FR639 : 71.3miles with 4790ft of climbing in 6:12hrs (garmin etrex30 r4:21.6.1) (pics: t21_4_23 - t21_4_38)
Notes: contains a small part of umpaved road, used to aproach the loop. A lucky day of great weather, after a day of heavy rain and hail. Fairly heavy traffic in the Rio Grande Gorge on this June1

( < Wolf Creek Pass | ) >

P1: same summit points: somewhere along NM518 towards US Hill Summit > NM518 south >  NM76 south > Chamisal > NM76 Chamisal - Ojo Sarco s(u) > Las Trampas > NM76 Truchas - Trampas > Truchas > detour trough Chimayo > Espagnola > :NM 68 north through Rio Grand Gorge > NM75 east > Dixon > NM75 Dixon - Rio Lucio high point > Rio Lucio <> detour around Picures pueblo > back to staring point on US Hill Summit: 92.3miles with 5860ft of climbing, no time measured (cycle computer: m2:96.5.30) (pics t96_1_1101 - t96_2_0103).
Notes: solo day ride after DBTC Sawatch > Pagosa Springs > Chama > Alamosa 3 day ride

( < Chosa Pass | Lagunita Saddle > )

P2: same summit points: jct NM68 - NM75 > NM68 through Rio Grande Gorge north > Espanola > Truchas > NM76 Truchas - Trampas s(u) > Las Trampas > Chamisal > NM76 north > Rio Pueblo > Rio Lucio > NM75 - Rio Lucio high point > Dixon > back to starting point 74.8miles with 6630ft of climbing in 6:49hrs (cyclecomputer m3:5.6.15) (pics t05_5_19-23)
Notes: with Bob

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: FR639 Truchas Mountains