Video: Maple Leaves Bring Fourth of July Canyon to Life!

Written by Mark T Fiedler - The Mark and Sheila Team
October 11th, 2010

For those outside of New Mexico that think the whole state is a vast sand dune filled desert, here’s another shocker – a mountain forest filled with gold, red and yellow autumn colors only 45 minutes from Albuquerque in the Manzano Mountains.  Fourth of July Canyon contains an unusual concentration of big tooth maple trees, which for a few weeks in September or October turn parts of the green forest to crimson.  Starting with a trailhead in Fourth of July Campground, several well marked trails head up the canyon . Near the top, (about 1000 ft up) a crest trail to the left gives a one way  view from the ridge. Go to the right, and after a relatively steep and narrow half mile hike, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of both the Estancia and Rio Grande Valleys. The hike is rated a 5 on a 10 scale, except for the crest trail, which is more challenging.

Surprisingly, the canyon is not named for the brilliant annual fall display of color, but for the date it was recorded as being found by an explorer in 1906.

Fourth of July Canyon is just west of the town of Tajique. Take the Hwy 337 exit (Tijeras/Cedar Crest) off I-40. Go south on 337 to Hwy 55 west and then turn right on to Forest Rd 55. Follow the signs to the campground.

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Categories: Albuquerque Metro ,Recreation ,Relocating ,Round Rio Rancho ,Things to Do ,Videos

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