Area Attraction: Gilman Tunnels & Guadalupe River


imagesIf 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!

GilmanTsand river

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!

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12 Responses to Area Attraction: Gilman Tunnels & Guadalupe River

  1. fran jones-lory says:

    So, if i take 485 off of SR 4, I should be able to get to the tunnels, correct?

  2. Ann Bolger says:

    Do you think this dirt road will be passable this weekend (december 20th – cold but no snow in the forecast)? Thanks for posting about this – would love to see them!

    • Garth says:

      Hi Ann, Thank you for your inquiry!
      I would suggest that you have four wheel drive to travel FS Road 376 right now. As of yesterday afternoon, we had received 5 inches of new snow. According to forecasts for this week, we’re due for another storm this coming Wednesday! On another note, the Forest Service oftentimes will close a gate that prevents vehicular travel on FS Road 376. All of this does not usually mean that you can’t see the Gilman Tunnels and the Guadalupe Box Canyon; If you use Hwy. 485 in from Hwy 4, it’s all paved up to those attractions. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! Garth

  3. Rhonda says:

    Can you ride 4 wheelers out at the Gilman tunnels?

    • Garth says:

      Hi Rhonda,
      I would think that there are areas out at or near the Gilman Tunnels but would like to refer you to the proper authorities for details and clarification. The Jemez Ranger District Office is located at 051 Woodsy Lane in the village of Jemez Springs, New Mexico. It can be reached by calling (575)829-3535. Good luck!


  5. susan kurtenbach says:

    Hi. Three friends And I am considering driving out of santa fe during the week of May 10th. What do you think? We are all fit but used to low elevations so will be drinking lots of water etc. Is this a decent time of year to access the hot spring? Susan

  6. Jeremy Devine says:

    Are they still closed? June 26th 2017

    • Garth says:

      Hi Jeremy, We’re not sure if they are closed. You may call the Jemez Ranger District office in Jemez Springs at: (575)829-3535. District Office hours 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Closed weekends. Or, call the Walatowa Visitor Center, (575)834-7235 – hours 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Friday through Sunday but closed for lunch.

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