Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!
San Juan River Trail (New Mexico)
After our very first hike along this trail, in early April, we knew it was one we wanted to return to again and again. We really wanted to see all it had to offer as the seasons changed here in the high desert. It has not been a disappointment, with each hike revealing new and beautiful sights. It has been a wonderful trail to follow through the surprisingly diverse seasonal changes we are learning to appreciate in this region.
Things to Know
Location: Navajo Lake State Park, New Mexico
Habitat: Riparian, scrub brush, cottonwood forest and desert bluffs.
Favorite Animal & Plant Life: We have spotted a variety of birds along the trail including: swallows, blue heron, Mallard ducks, flickers, wild turkey, and sparrows. The swallow nests along the bluffs are amazing; we witnessed swallows bringing food to their young while they were nesting. We have also seen garter snakes, mice, lizards, deer tracks, beaver, and a beaver dam. There is a surprising array of plant life along the trail, our favorites are the cottonwoods, some of which are over 100 years old.
Special Features: This trail travels between the river and the bluffs, which can be up to 700 feet high in some areas, and provides many stunning views. The erosion along the trail has made intricate patterns in the sandstone and we have often imagined how creatures could use these carved out nooks for shelter. This section of the San Juan River is known as a world class fishing spot and we often spot fisherman floating down river, fortunately there are no motorized boats allowed in this area so the hike remains peaceful.
Best Time of Year to Visit: Almost a year-round trail, it is best hiked in winter, spring, early summer, and fall; we found the mosquito population a little too much to bear in late summer.