Cañon Tapia is truly one of the gems in the stunning array of hikes in the dusty Rio Puerco valley. After traveling south past the ghost town of Guadalupe, we will drive up the Cañon Tapia drainage and park at the BLM trailhead. The sandstone canyon begins fairly broad and shallow, but closes up in a mile or two. A couple of miles up there is a large and dramatic petroglyph panel, and that is followed in fairly quick succession by the Tower Ruin, a site considered sacred by the Navajo. The canyon continues west past the confluence with Cañon del Puente and its eponymous natural bridge. I've only been up 4-5 miles before, but I know that there are slot canyons and possibly more ruins beyond that. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can find. I plan on the entire hike being at least 10 miles and possibly as long as 15 miles with at least a moderate amount of elevation gain (think in and out of canyons), although this hike will be exploratory so that total is approximate. Plan on scrambling up and down red rock at some point. Bring layers of clothing and plenty of food and water. Because this hike is long and exploratory, please remember to bring a headlamp and/or a flashlight in case it gets dark before we get back to the cars. I highly encourage folks coming from Albuquerque to meet at the Lowe's at I-25 and Paseo at 7 then meet me at the Home Depot in Rio Rancho, or just join me in Rio Rancho directly. Due to the long, exploratory nature of the hike, I will plan on leaving at 7:30a sharp to maximize our daylight. Please be prompt and/or notify me at[masked] if you are running late. Note that if you are planning on driving to the trailhead, I highly encourage that you bring a high clearance vehicle--the last mile or so of road is extremely rutted. I am planning on driving in my SUV that can seat everyone, so we should all be able to fit if we need to.
Although the weather looks great at this point, poor weather will cancel or change the trip because I have no desire to get stuck on muddy roads.