Jemez Mountains and Jemez Springs Activities:
Hot Springs, Indian Ruins, Hiking, Biking, Fishing!
There are so many fun activities to do in the Jemez Mountains, and they are all within minutes of the Elk Mountain Lodge Bed and Breakfast.
Jemez State Monument -A 500 Year old Spanish ruin
A short drive from Albuquerque and Bernalillo, the Jemez State Monument Heritage Area is one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest. It includes the stone ruins of a 500 year old Indian village and the San José de los Jemez church dating to 1610. The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of the Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area.
In the 17th century, the Spanish established a Catholic mission at the village. The mission was short-lived, and, in time, the people abandoned the site and moved to the current location of Jemez Pueblo. The massive stonewalls were constructed about the same time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The heritage center contains exhibitions that tell the story of the site through the words of the Jemez people. A 1,400-foot interpretive trail winds through the impressive site ruins. Visit the website: Jemez State Monument.
The Jemez River – the main area fishing waters – is a small trout stream that flows south out of the Jemez Mountains along State Route 4 through Jemez Springs and Hyw 126 in La Cueva. Gear needed for fishing in the Jemez will vary slightly but would typically be a 7-foot rod with 4 to 6 lb. test line. There are occasions where a heavier set-up such as 8-foot rod with 10 to 14 lb. test will be necessary but you unfortunately you may not know it until you hook the big one that gets away (like this rare beauty taken from the Rio Cebolla in 2010)!
The Jemez is a very popular stream that experiences normal runoff cycles after winter thaw and summer rains. There is excellent fishing access at numerous locations along its length where anglers can try their luck for rainbows. These waters are frequently stocked with “keepable” sized trout by the game and fish department throughout the year. But as mentioned above, that doesn’t mean that’s all you’ll catch! You can even visit the Game and Fish Department’s Jemez area hatchery up in Seven Springs (near Fenton Lake).
Other area tributaries feeding into the Jemez also hold some beautiful native brown trout. These rivers include the Guadalupe River, Cebolla river and the East Fork of the Jemez. Oh, and don’t forget to include the Rio de Las Vacas, and the San Antonio Creek! Of course all of these waters are open to fly fishing – there are even areas/tributaries that are specified as “Fly Fishing Only” so bring your gear or rent ours!
*Note: NM Dept. of Game and Fish fishing license is required for any of the Elk Mountain Lodge fishing packages shown in our “Special Packages” page. You can purchase a license online by visiting their website at: New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
NM State Fishing Licenses are also available locally from Amanda’s Country Store which is here in La Cueva- about a half mile from Elk Mountain Lodge. Call them for details at: (575) 829-4333.
Hiking in the Jemez Mountains
There are absolutely too many hiking trails in the Jemez Mountains to mention (or list here)! Our database on hiking (consisting of web research we’ve collected of the years and personal experiences) can be very helpful in offering you wonderful hiking choices. We have access to literally multiple dozens of hikes from the easiest to the most difficult.
Marvelous hiking conditions are found everywhere here. The summer season is typically dry with occasional afternoon or evening thundershowers. Temperatures are mild but nighttime frosts are possible early or late in the season and at higher elevations. Trails in the area are excellent and can range from easy to very difficult.
We always strongly suggest that hikers use a GPS. However, some non-trail areas are accurately represented by topographic maps (available from the forest service) and can provide ample inspiration for a cross-country hike. In addition, many mountain peaks in the area can be climbed/hiked without special equipment. Fishing in many of the lakes and streams is superb and will occasionally yield a super-sized trout! Lower elevations may include desert environments while higher elevations give way to forests and high alpine/aspen country.
The Santa Fe National Forest, the Valle Caldera National Preserve, Bandelier National Monument and individual Pueblo tribal governments, generally manage the Jemez mountain lands.
NOTE: Indian Pueblos should be respectively considered private. Enter only areas you have been authorized for and follow the special rules posted on signs within the Pueblos. Be caution of taking pictures in Pueblo areas as some indigenous peoples fear that you could be stealing their souls by taking their pictures.