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Wilderness Watch: Manzano Mountain Wilderness



Manzano Mountains, with wilderness boundary.

Close to our home in Albuquerque, this wilderness is an expansive area of forested cliffs and canyons and home to an incredible variety of wildlife and recreation opportunities. Flanked by the Los Lunas-Albuquerque metropolitan area to the west and the wide range of the Estancia Basin to the east, these very southernmost offshoots of the Rocky Mountains are some of New Mexico's most prominent peaks.

Part of the extensive Cibola National Forest, there are many miles of trails throughout the wilderness, and especially on the eastern side of the ridge. The famous Osha and Comanche Canyon trails form a through-trail running from the northern border with Isleta Pueblo to the developed recreation areas and campgrounds on the southern edge of the Cibola National Forest.

The area has great historical importance, being a source of food and livelihood as well as a spiritual and cultural touchstone for the Pueblo people that still live nearby. The Spanish colonized the area extensively for a period, establishing the famous Salinas Pueblo Missions nearby.

As you recreate in these immense mountains, be mindful of the mountain lions, who have been spotted in great numbers in this area, as well as the respect owed to the land. Utilize Leave No Trace principles always on public lands, but especially in delicate wildernesses like these that are at risk of human encroachment.

Learn more about recreation from the Cibola National Forest here.

Geology of the Manzanos from NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

1 comment

  • Remarkable timing – I spent several days hiking in the Manzanos, after coming from Virginia in order to view the annular solar eclipse in October. Indeed, a quite beautiful area, particularily quiet in the southern section, though the fall color of the mountain maples and aspens on the northern end was quite spectacular – very glad I managed to be there at the height of the fall foliage….

    Michael Doyle on

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