Let the BLM Know You Support More Trails at Horsethief

· Comment period ends June 14, 2021 ·

The Bureau of Land Management has released their Travel Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment for Horsethief Mesa, and now they want to hear from you!

In short, click over to the BLM Comment Page to submit your support for
Alternative E
of the Travel Management Plan.

Once there, click on the menu item labeled “Documents” on the left-hand side. This will bring up the current documents (as well as some old documents from the last round). The ones of most interest to you will be:

In the Appendix_D Figures file, scroll down to page 7 which has a map titled:

  • 2.7-1 Expanded Route Network Alternative E

This is the alternative that TMBA supports, and includes many of the trails submitted by the Enchanted Circle Trails Association with input from TMBA. However several trails from the original plan have been excluded…

We want to encouraging the BLM to add those trails into
Alternative E
to provide a diverse user experience for different skill levels of riding.

There is very little in the way of technical rock riding in Taos County. This kind of trail provides opportunities for skills progression and challenge not available on most of the region’s cross-country trails.

The rocky sections near the rim of the Rio Grand gorge at Horsethief Mesa have an amazing potential to provide this unique style of riding which achieve the “challenge”, “play”, and “risk” trail experiences outlined in the BLM/IMBA Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience.

However all of these parallel lines were excluded in the proposed Travel Management Plan. We are asking that they be re-considered.

To Comment

Click on the “Participate Now” Button next to any document. We recommend the Travel Management Plan itself:

Here are a few sample comments (Feel free to use these for your personal input, but it will go a little further if you add some individual thoughts of your own as well):

• I support the implementation of Alternative E with a few modifications.

I enthusiastically am in favor of Alternative E of the Travel Management plan, and am excited to see the BLM beginning to take steps toward meeting the demand for recreational opportunities on public land in northern New Mexico. However, I am concerned by the lack of both a true beginner (green) trail, and the lack of more advanced technical (black) trails.

• I support the inclusion of the dismissed technical rim trails from the ECTA plan in order to increase the diversity of riding opportunities.

While I understand the need to preserve view-sheds and habitat, it is also important to recognize that no other place in the management area is suitable for developing technical, rocky trails that accommodate a wide range of riding experiences. These trails are uniquely able to provide challenge, play and risk opportunities as outlined in the BLM/IMBA Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience. No other area in Horsethief, or in the Taos region have this level of potential for this type of trail experience.

• I would like to see the inclusion of the dismissed 1-mile beginner loop near the trailhead to encourage progression of skills

Having an easy trail near the parking area that parents are able to monitor from their vehicles is important to provide an entry point for beginning riders who are exploring the sport, or a safe place for kids to play within eyesight of their parents.

• I want to make sure the trailhead facilities are large enough to accommodate anticipated usage, and include ample parking and toilets.

While I see benefits to either trailhead location, the designs as presented do not look to be able to accommodate the number of visitors that will be utilizing the area. It is fairly common for the current trailheads to have more than 10 vehicles on a busy weekend, and the additional trails are likely to attract more users. Further, there does not appear to be enough room for horse trailers or buses for school events.

· Comment period ends June 14, 2021 ·

Thank you for taking an active role in helping get more trails developed in Taos!


In 2019, the BLM contracted the Enchanted Circle Trails Association to develop a Conceptual Trails Plan for the Horsethief Mesa area to help meet the growing demand for a comprehensive multi-user trail network in Northern New Mexico. TMBA and other community volunteers spent hundreds of hours helping ECTA plan and ground-truth what has the potential to be a first-class recreational trail network.

The original Conceptual Trails Plan adds 24.5 miles of new multi-use trail to the Horesthief area, providing a variety of skill level and technical challenges, including flow style trails, technical rock sections and a 1-mile beginner loop suitable for Striders and those just getting into the sport of mountain biking.

You can find a presentation of the the Conceptual Trail Plan that TMBA helped ECTA develop here:

For a PDF version: (The trails plan begins on slide #12)