Posts Tagged ‘ Jemez Mountains ’

Video: The Closest NM Mountain Lake Fit to Paddle ‘Round…

Written by Mark T Fiedler - The Mark and Sheila Team
August 2nd, 2010

Fenton Lake State Park is located at 7900 feet elevation in the Jemez Mountains, about 65 miles Northwest of Rio Rancho,  and about 10 miles off NM Route 4. The park consists of 700 acres of Ponderosa Pine forest and high mountain meadow land, plus about 35 acres of lake. The fishing’s good, and the lake’s stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Supposedly, the fishing’s even better during the winter, (through 2 feet of ice) but I doubt I’ll ever verify that… Small boats are allowed on the lake, but only paddle-powered ones.

There’s a great campground in the park, with 40 developed sites – some with hookups, a playground, a group shelter and restrooms.

Although Cochiti Lake is a shorter distance from Rio Rancho (and a much larger lake), if you want more of a mountain-with-pine-trees environment in which to do some fishing and paddling, Fenton Lake’s the closest.

Watch as the foliage changes with elevation…It’s pretty interesting… Keep your eye out for the hummingbird too!

Video: Soda Dam in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico

Written by Mark T Fiedler - The Mark and Sheila Team
July 27th, 2010

Located about half way between Jemez Springs and Battleship Rock, Soda Dam is an unusual geologic structure located alongside Route 4 in the Jemez Mountains. The dam was formed over thousands of years by depositing of minerals – primarily calcium carbonate, in minute layers to eventually build this magnificent structure. The dam partially blocks the Jemez River, sometimes creating a pool upstream. The materials were deposited on the dam by groundwater which seeped into the natural fault located nearby, was heated by volcanic rock deep in the earth, and which carried the dissolved minerals and gases back to the surface.

A number of active springs within the dam structure continue to carve small caves and streak the surface with color from various trace minerals.

Video: The back road to the Jemez Mountains

Written by Mark T Fiedler - The Mark and Sheila Team
July 26th, 2010

So, you’re up for a little drive in the mountains… If you head west out of the northern end of Rio Rancho on Hwy 550, within a few minutes you’ll hit New Mexico Route 4 and San Ysidro. Route 4 is the 64 mile long main road through the Jemez Mountains connecting the Albuquerque / Rio Rancho area with the Jemez Pueblo, Los Alamos and the Bandelier National Monument.

A few miles north of San Isidro you will find the Canon de San Diego region, with its stunning red rock formations and dirt, rich with iron. The Jemez Pueblo is located here, although tribal laws do not permit photography of the pueblo or its people.

A few miles north of the pueblo, if you’re really paying attention, you will see a turnoff to the left (west) for Highway 485 – a 1 ½ – 2 lane back way into the Jemez Mountains. Although Route 4 is a quicker and wider road than 485, I find myself taking the road less traveled almost every time. The road crosses the Jemez River and goes up a narrow, steep rock canyon, following the Rio Guadalupe. A few miles in you will encounter the Gilman Tunnels. These 2 tunnels were originally built in the 1920’s to accommodate a logging railroad. Just past the tunnels, the pavement ends. In fact, there is a gate across the road at that point which is often closed well into May because of snow and poor road conditions until the spring and summer heat dries things out. The road is rough, but the vistas of the mountain meadows are worth the bumpy ride.

Once you complete the loop and rejoin Route 4, you will be within a short distance of 3 more of the region’s star attractions – Fenton Lake, Battleship Rock and Soda Dam.

Battleship Rock is easily seen from the road and is worth a stop. The large exposed rock face emulates the bow of a large ship – hence the name. The striking, 200 foot tall natural formation of welded volcanic ash is studded with glass-like obsidian rock. A river runs through the day-use picnic area at the base, and hiking trails abound.

Jemez Mountains, NM