Author Archives: Garth



Commemorating the 1680 Pueblo Revolt
Sunday, August 9, 2015 | 7am- 4pm | Free

On Sunday, August 9, 2015 the quaint and sleepy village of Jemez Springs—popularly known for its hot springs, hiking, and art galleries, comes alive with the 12th annual Pueblo Independence Day Celebration starting with a 7am pilgrimage run from Jemez Pueblo Plaza to Jemez Historic Site. Visitors to this free annual free event will also enjoy traditional Native dances, dine on authentic Native food, and shop Native arts and crafts.

Three hundred and thirty-five years ago on August 10 and 11, 1680, the Pueblo People of New Mexico, aided by some Apache and Navajo allies, launched a successful rebellion against Spanish colonization.

This 12th annual Pueblo Independence Day Celebration commemorates this historic event which shaped the course of New Mexico state history. Jemez Historic Site ranger Marlon Magdalena said, “Celebrating the day pays tribute to the Ancestors and shows appreciation for their sacrifices. Their brave resistance helped preserve the Pueblo way of life: our culture, our languages and our right to one day reclaim our aboriginal lands.”

Schedule of events:

Free Admission for all New Mexico residents with ID.

7am—Run begins at the Jemez Pueblo plaza. The general public is welcome to participate. Water stations will be available. 13 miles

10am—Invocation and Welcome by Site manager Matt Barbour and Jemez Pueblo Officials

10.30am-4pm—Enjoy traditional Native dances, dine on authentic Native food, and shop Native arts and crafts

For more information the public may call Jemez Historic Site at 575-829-3530 or check the web site

About Jemez Historic Site

A short drive from Albuquerque, Bernalillo, and Santa Fe, Jemez Historic Site is one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest. It includes the stone vestiges of a 500 year old Indian village and the San José de los Jemez church dating to 1621/2. The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of 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 stone walls 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.

Driving Directions from Albuquerque

From I-25, exit 242 take 550 west to San Ysidro, then right onto Route 4 for 18 miles.

(Reprinted with permission from NM State Historic Sites)

Late Winter Fishing on the Rio San Antonio

Spring Fishing 2014

With springtime just a few short weeks away and the weather too favorable not be on the water with a fishing pole, I took a couple of hours to go try my luck in our beautiful Jemez Mountains. I set out at about 10AM along the west side of the Rio San Antonio from the bridge at Twisted Juniper Rd. here in La Cueva (9 miles north of Jemez Springs).  Now, 10AM is not typically your best time of the day to go fishing but I still had the need to get a fishing pole in hand.  On this day, I just grabbed a ultralight rod and reel from the rack – a 6-foot pole rigged with 10-pound test Spiderwire and walked down to the water.

 DSC_0045The outside temperature was about 50F with abundant sunshine and no wind. The water temperature on the river was very cold and a bit murky from the high country spring runoff.  Moving upstream, I baited my hook with a pea sized piece of Orange Power Bait and one small split shot and began to relax.   After about 10 minutes of trial and error, I found most of the trout lying idle in the still waters adjacent to the main current.  It seemed as if the trout were not yet really “awake” for spring feeding and wanted perfect bait presentation before they had any interest.


As afternoon came, I had caught (and released) 7 nice pan-sized fish in a quarter mile stretch of the river right in front of the Elk Mountain Lodge. It was also good to see that some of the normal spring flies were beginning to emerge along the banks.  By the end of my outing, the temperature had reached about 60F and I actually had signs of a light sunburn!  The trout also seemed to become more active as the day progressed – they began to feed more aggressively.  I snapped a few pictures of the trout I landed – no “lunkers” on this outing but the average length varied from a decent 10 to 14 inches.  All in all, it was a great day.  This brief excursion was enough to get me excited about what this year’s fishing should be like.  The fishing up here never really disappoints!

 Be sure to check our Facebook page every few weeks for the local NMDGF Fishing Report!

Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway

Check out this short video about the Jemez Mountain Trail!  It’s a great way to plan and maximize a trip to the Jemez Mountains.  If you have more questions about our area, please feel free to give us a call!  We’ll be glad to help anyway we can.   Elk Mountain Lodge 575-829-3159.


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!

Do You Need a Massage?


We recently had an independent, licensed Massage Therapist who lives in Rio Rancho stay with us.  Amber Pappas, a very pleasant and cordial gal, and her husband were here for a quick respite from their daily lives.  While visiting with her at breakfast, we found out that she works at the Jemez Springs Bath house on Sundays helping others find soothing relaxation from their own stressful lives as well.   What a great way to spend a weekend in the Jemez Mountains!  Have a great exhilarating Saturday exploring our beautiful area, stay the night with us, do the hot springs, then get a massage on Sunday!  If you wish to make an appointment, you may call the Jemez Springs Bath House at 575-829-3303 or toll free at 866-204-8303.

Sherrah Taylor is also another local LMT that is offering her skilled hands for clients here at Elk Mountain Lodge.  Robin and I recently had an hour long Swedish Massage…  What a relaxing and wonderful experience!  You may call Sherrah direct using the information shown below or call us at 575-829-3159 for a referral.  (Sherrah is an independent LMT and not an employee of the Elk Mountain Lodge.)

Sherrah Taylor, Licensed Massage Therapist/Instructor; LMT # 4293  Jemez Springs, NM 575-843-0736   -or-   970-209-8387.

Wildlife in the Jemez Mountains

This week before the snowfall, we had a parade of two bull elk crossing the road about 400 yards from the deck of the lodge. A nice treat for our guests on a quiet Sunday morning! — at Elk Mountain Lodge Jemez Springs, NM.225832_451145731611158_1721196236_n 29542_451145541611177_474207308_n 215052_451145471611184_1475740810_n 432235_451145674944497_659695841_n

Sample Some Local Flavor!

If you ever need a good, nay, an excellent and HOT bowl of red chili – one that burns for an hour after finishing, go to Dave’s Burgers in the Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo…. IT IS HOT! I recently had the pleasure of sampling their red chili at the 4th of July party on the Plaza in beautiful down town Jemez Springs.

I’m talking HOT RED CHILI.

I should have picked up on the “hint” when I ordered the dish… they advised me: “It’s really hot – are you sure you want the Fiesta red?”  I said “Sure I’m Sure!” Brave statement there…

They are a great bunch of people – friendly and caring.  After I ordered the bowl, I went into the crowd to find a seat to sit down for some delicious lunch.  One of the young women in the family came looking for me about 5 minutes later and brought me an extra bottle water – free of charge – just to make sure I could put out the fire!

If you’re a connoisseur of hot red chili, you can’t afford to not try it. Even if you’re not, they also have excellent Indian Taco and other delicious goodies! Give them a try -but beware the heat!  Here’s their contact info/address:

Daves Burgers – 505-834-0655

4926 State Hwy 4

Jemez Pueblo, NM 87024


Fourth of July in Jemez Springs

If you’ve never been to the Jemez Mountains for the 4th of July, you have indeed missed a wonderful event.  This small home-town occasion brings you back to a time when baseball, apple pie and ice cream were the highlights of the best Independence day ever.  A quaint old fashioned traditional parade, slap-your-knee funny duck races, oohs and ahhs from the firework display…  It’s all here.


The Town ordered the fireworks weeks ago with faith that some much needed rains would fall.  The conditions otherwise are typically perfect.  Warm days and mild evening temperatures make the Jemez Mountains the perfect place to celebrate the 4th.  And, if you’ve never experienced a fireworks display from behind the scenes, click on the link below to watch this 8 minute video from the 2010 celebration.  It’s a great showing of the fire fighters that actually orchestrate the show at dark.  If you listen closely, you can hear Independence Day music, the echo of the fireworks report on the canyon walls and the crowds cheering!  Goosebumps included.

The parade starts at 10:00a.m. so get their early!  Bring a lawn chair, some soda pop and settle in for a great time.  Then, visit the arts and craft booths and other events at the park.  Maybe take in some lunch at one of the local restaurants or go fishing until dusk.   Make this an annual occasion!  And don’t forget to book your room with Elk Mountain Lodge for next year’s events!  Call us at 575-829-3159 or visit:

Happy Independence Day!

Stream fishing techniques for the Jemez Mountains

Different times of the year require you to approach catching fish in different ways.  If you wish to spend an excellent summer’s day catching summer trout in the Jemez Mountains, try the following basic techniques for a successful trip.

Use a lightweight fishing rod and reel.  I like a 6 to 7 foot rod with 6 to 8 lb. test line.  You might think this is too heavy for our rivers and streams but I like it just in case I hook one of the nicer “lunkers” that are often hooked up here.  Thinner line is more transparent and therefore works better when the water is very clear.  A light split shot weight (be-be sized) should work well about a foot above a size 8 hook.  I always suggest you use barbless hooks so that you may release the smaller trout.  It’s just better for the fish and allows you to give them a second chance to grow bigger!

An excellent bait choice, which is common and productive would be Pautzke’s Balls O’ Fire Salmon Eggs.  I’ve been using these to fish these waters forever and am never disappointed.



Another great choice, orange Berkley Power Bait, has never failed me either.   If there are trout in the area, and if you present the bait correctly, they usually can’t resist.  These bait types are readily available from any well stocked sporting goods shop.




If there’s a stretch of river that you particularly want to fish, start at the bottom or down stream from that area and begin hike-fishing upstream.  In the summer, it’s good to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, Shorts are nice because you don’t have to worry about long pants getting wet.  Sometimes being in the middle of the stream, ankle deep in water is better than fishing from the bank.  Trout feed looking upstream so it’s best to fish while hiking up the flow.

“Read” the water by observing calm and tranquil pools immediately after a rapids or rocky fallout.  Trout like to grab their food as it enters a slower moving pond and while it is still suspended by stream flow.  When the bait is just off the bottom and moving, they perceive the bait as ‘live’ and will aggressively strike.

Trout will also “hang” in or near eddies (a circular movement of water, causing a small whirlpool) and watch for their query to get caught in suspension so that they can quickly nab it.  You should also look for deep areas below or behind rocks where the bait will slow and remain suspended.

Cast your line into the water above such areas and let the current bring the bait down naturally.  Make sure you don’t have too much weight on the line causing the bait to sink rather than “flow”.  Remember, naturally presented food is pretty hard for a trout to resist.  If the bait is constantly getting stuck in the bottom of the river, your split shot is likely too heavy.

We would love to have the have the opportunity to give you more details about fishing our areas streams, lakes and rivers.  Talking trout is one of our favorite pastimes!   Come up for a weekend of cool temps and relaxation…  we’d love for you to visit.  Call us at 575-829-3159 or make a reservation today at



Nature Tours in The Valles Caldera

Nature Tours in The Valles Caldera

The Elk Mountain Lodge is situated right on the edge of one of the most amazing attractions in the southwest US – it’s basically right here in our back yard.  The Valles Caldera’s 89,000 acres is home to a large variety of wildlife such as raptors, elk, bear, deer and many species of fish.  A trip through only a small portion of the preserve can yield volumes of photos, memories and also amazing exposure to nature’s beauty.

Sure, many people have driven past the vast open meadow that is only a small portion of the crater but most people have never really experienced the heart of this amazing place.  As a matter of fact, most people don’t even know that you can take guided van tours through the immense forested areas that are also a part of the Caldera!  If you’re one of such passer’s by, you should read on…

Beautiful natural resources of the Valles are brought to you via these tours that are offered and organized by the Preserve.  There are many different categories of tours that range from artistry to geology to wildlife!  Within each category, you can typically choose different dates and times that fit your schedule.  Further, the costs are relatively minimal for a one hour tour.  Stops along the route offer a great place to take magnificent pictures of some of the most stunning mountain areas of the entire southwest.  Experience wildlife, archeology and the history of the Caldera while someone else drives!

If you have your own horses and would rather tour by horseback you can do that too!  Applications and reservations are typically made well in advance but it’s not impossible to sign up at the staging area on a daily basis.  Rides may be booked between mid May to the first of September.  Fees, rules and schedules may be viewed on their website or by calling 866-382-5537.

The lodge is a short 13 miles southwest of the entrance to the Preserve and 8 miles north of the Caldera’s administrative offices down in Jemez Springs.  We can provide you with more information during your stay with us – just let us know that you are interested.  Things like this are a favorite discussion over breakfast so make your reservations today and start enjoying the mountain life!  Call us at 575-829-3159 for more information.