Indian Meadow Nature Trail
This exceptionally easy stroll follows a series of numbered stops keyed to a free brochure, available at the trail head. You'll learn about the native vegetation and cultural history of the area as you ramble along a nearly level dirt path in a lovely meadow. .6 mile RT. Easy. Access: Dog Canyon Campground; walk south from the water fountain.
McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail
An ideal way to discover the variety of plants and animals that inhabit the canyon, this trail has some steep climbs. Read the numerous interpretive signs along the path, telling you all you wanted to know about, for example, why rattlesnakes are underappreciated and how cacti supply food and water for wildlife. .9 mile RT. Easy to moderate. Access: McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center.
Paved and accessible by wheelchair, the Pinery Trail gives visitors an introduction to the low-elevation environment. The interpretive signs discuss both the plants along the trail and the history of the area. About a quarter of a mile from the visitor center, the trail leads to the ruins of an old station left over from the Butterfield Stage Route. .75 mile RT. Easy. Access: Trail head by the Pine Springs Visitor Center, or from parking area on U.S. 62/180, 1/2 mile north of visitor center entrance road.
Smith Spring Loop
The Smith Spring Loop begins in the dry desert and climbs 440 feet to the lush oasis of Smith Spring. The first part of the trail, which takes you to Manzanita Spring, is easy and navigable by people with mobility impairments. If you take this walk in the evening, you might catch a glimpse of an elk, deer, or other animal coming to the spring for water. After Manzanita Spring, the trail begins the climb to Smith Spring, following a good example of a desert riparian zone along Smith Canyon. Look for the still-visible damage caused by a lightning fire in 1990, and note how the desert environment has recovered and even improved. Smith Spring itself is a magnificent oasis, with enough water seeping out to form a small waterfall and stream. Here you'll find maidenhair fern, bigtooth maple, chinquapin oak, and Texas madrone -- all in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. Although it's lush, the area is fragile, so please remain in the designated area to preserve the ecosystem. 2.3 miles RT. Easy to moderate. Access: North edge of Frijole Ranch and Museum.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.