This hike is on our first day of a 3-day trip to do some hiking in the Jemez Mountains. Having just a half a day, after driving from Albuquerque and getting the R-Pod set up at the Vista Linda campground, we opted for a short hike to find Jemez Falls. As always, the drive up the Jemez River in San Antonio Canyon is awesome. Many of the cottonwood trees were still in their bright golden suits, and the canyon walls are amazing. Rounding the curve at La Cueva, ’tis another 6 miles to the entrance to the Jemez Falls Campground. Proceed to the end of the campground roads (a sign points one ahead to the Falls).
There is not much guidance at the parking area, so we started down what appeared to be a trail to the river. Yep, we found the river but no falls. We headed downstream but were blocked by the cliff face at water’s edge; it was either wade across or try another route. Since were along the river, we explored upstream until encountering another such blockage. ‘Tis quite pleasant, with the sound of water running over rocks and an environment as close to wetter climates as we’ve encountered in New Mexico.
Still seeking the Falls, we ascended to the ridgetop and headed downstream, towards a louder sound of rushing water – maybe the falls? Following our ears, we proceeded downstream on the crest of the ridgetop and soon encountered the sure signs of trails leading down towards the river. And .. we were looking down on Jemez Falls. A bit more nosing around and we found the route down to the river just below the falls. Mission accomplished.
Total Distance: 1.38 miles
Elevation: start 7.949 ft, maximum 7,949 ft, minimum 7,814 ft
Gross gain: 135 ft. Aggregate ups & downs: ascending 537 ft, descending 537 ft
Maximum slope: 50% ascending, 65% descending, 14% average
GPS .KML file for Google Earth: Jemez Falls Hike.Pat.2017-11-08