If you are looking for a great way to spend an afternoon in the Jemez Mountains, check out the box river canyon and old railway tunnels at Gilman! This beautiful loop drive from the Elk Mountain Lodge is a must do. The beautiful scenery, cool river, mountain views and red rock tunnels are amazing.
The Tunnels, blasted out of the rock in the 1920’s, were originally used for a logging railroad. There are several spectacular turnouts in the Guadalupe River Box that make great photo opportunities. You’ll see the river cascading down large boulders and rocks in the slot canyon – breathtaking!
The round trip from La Cueva to the tunnels and back (shown on the map) encompasses approximately 43 total miles. The tunnels are only 21 miles from the Elk Mountain Lodge or about half way through the drive. Here are the directions: From our driveway, turn north on Hwy. 126. Drive 3 miles to Forest Rd. 376 and turn left. Proceed south for 18 miles to the tunnels. This road is dirt but well worth the scenery! Please drive slowly; you’ll see more beauty, you’ll keep the dust down and help to keep the road in good shape for those traveling behind you.
When you’re ready to complete the trip and return to the Lodge, continue south on FR 376/Hwy 485 for 6 miles back to NM Highway 4. Turn left (north) back through Jemez Springs back to La Cueva and the Elk Mountain Lodge. Plan for at least a couple hours and have a great time!