New Mexico can offer an ATV vacation while traveling along historic Route 66. This is possible by taking side trips to areas with ATV trails. Riding these trails allows the ATV enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy more of the beauty that is New Mexico.
Coming from Texas, Route 66 enters New Mexico on NM118 (south frontage road) and travels through Manuelito, Gallup, Zuni, McCune and on to Iyanbito where it returns to I-40 at Exit 36. Continue on I-40 through Coolidge, leave I-40 at Exit 47 in Continental Divide, but stay on the northern frontage road to Thoreau. In Thoreau, ATV enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy their sport by traveling up NM371 about 100 miles to Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area or a few more miles to Glade Run Recreation Area.
Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area, located on NM371 between Thoreau and Farmington, offers large sand dunes, steep to gentle hills and sandy arroyo bottoms. There are no camping facilities here, but vault toilets are available. If you plan on coming here, bring your own firewood and be sure to follow all the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules and regulations. For more information, call 505-599-8900.
Another area offering ATV trails is Glade Run Recreation Area. Glade Run Recreation Area offers ATV enthusiasts 2 areas to ride. One is open and the other one is limited use. Here riders will find slick rock and wide sandy washes and rolling terrain. This area is open year round, but has no facilities such as campsites or toilets. Overnight camping is allowed with the proper permits. If camping, be sure to bring your own firewood, as firewood gathering is not permitted. To get to Glade Run Recreation Area, after visiting Dunes Vehicle Recreation Area, get back on NM371 and stay on it to Farmington. In Farmington, stay on NM371 to W. Murray Drive. Turn left on W. Murray Drive and continue to W. NM 64. Continue west on W. NM 64 to La Plata Highway. Turn right on La Plata Highway, continue to Pinon Hills Blvd. Turn right on Pinon Hills Blvd, and continue to Glade Road. Turn left on Glade Road and continue north for approximately 2 miles to the entrance of Glade Run Recreation Area. For more information, call 505-599-8900.
After riding the trails at Glade Run Recreation Area, the adventure on Route 66 begins again by returning to Thoreau and continuing traveling on NM122, which is the frontage road for I-40. Route 66 continues on NM122 through Prewitt, Bluewater, and Milan and into Grants.
Another stopping place to enjoy ATV riding is El Malpais National Conservation Area. This area offers backcountry roads as well as uneven and steep trails to ride on. Primitive camping is allowed with a permit. El Malpais National Conservation Area is open year round and has restrooms, drinking water and picnic tables at the ranger station. To get to these trails from Grants, stay on NM122 to Exit 89 and continue to NM117. For more information, call 505-783-4774.
When back in Grants, cross the railroad track, turn onto Sanders Avenue, and continue traveling on Sanders Avenue to NM117. Turn east on NM117 and continue by getting on NM124. Stay on NM124 through McCartys, San Fidel, Cubero and on to Budville where Route 66 leaves NM124 and gets on Old 66. Stay on Old 66 from Budville to Paraje where Route 66 gets back on NM124 and continues through New Laguna, Laguna and into Mesita. In Mesita, get back on I-40 at Exit 126 and continue on to Correro. Leave I-40 in Correro on NM-6. Continue on NM-6 through Suwanee, South Garcia, Rio Puerco, and Sandia and on to Los Lunas. In Los Lunas, stay on NM-6 to Main Street (NM-47). Continue on NM-47 through Bosque Farms, Isleta Pueblo, Isleta and on to Los Pallidos. In Los Pallidos take Isleta Boulevard (NM-314) and continue through Pajarito to Albuquerque.
While in Albuquerque traveling across New Mexico on Route 66, another opportunity for the ATV enthusiast to enjoy are the trails at Rio Puerco. This area offers riders sand dunes, arroyos, sandstone rock outcroppings, steep hills and even a swamp area. Rio Puerto is located northwest of Albuquerque off I-25 toward Alameda. For more information, visit www.treadlightly.org.
After enjoying riding the trails at Rio Puerto, travel south on I-25 back to Albuquerque and on to Gordy’s Hill OHV Area. This area is a scenic dirt bike and ATV destination. Here riders will find a primitive location that presents challenges for all levels of experience. This area is made up of canyons, sandstone and limestone bluffs, terraces and escarpments and primitive camping is allowed. To get to Gordy’s Hill OHV Area, exit I-40 at the I-25 South exit in Albuquerque and travel south on the frontage road to Escondido Lake. Turn left and cross the Rio Grande River, then turn left again at Pueblitos onto Johnson Hill Country Road and travel north. After traveling north, turn east and travel about 1 mile, turn east again and follow the arroyo road to a sandy hill staging area. For more information, visit www.nm.blm.gov/recreation/socorro/gordys_hill_ohv.htm
To continue on the quest to cross New Mexico on Route 66 after exploring the ATV trails Gordy’s Hill offers, return to Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, stay on NM-314 to Bridge Boulevard. Stay on Bridge Boulevard for .03 miles, cross the Rio Grande River on the Barelas Bridge and continue on Bridge Boulevard to 4th Street. Head north on 4th Street to Bernalillo to Central Avenue. On Central Avenue continue west to 6th Street, turn south on Lomas Boulevard. From Lomas Boulevard continue to NM-313 and head to Algodones. Stay on NM-313 to NM-474. Continue on NM-474 to Exit 248 on I-25 and enter I-25. Stay on I-24 to Exit 278 where Route 66 leaves I-25 and continues on Cerrillos Road in La Cienga.
In La Cienga, get back on I-25 at Exit 276 for 2 miles and Exit 278 on Cerrillos Road, which will become Gallisto. Continue on this road to Water Street. Take a right on Water Street, then a right on Old Santa Fe Trail, cross the Santa Fe River. Old Santa Fe Trail will then become Old Pecos Trail and will cross the Pecos River. Old Pecos Trail will then become the northern frontage road of I-25. Follow this frontage road to Exit 294 and get back on I-25. Continue on I-25 to Exit 299 at Glorieta. Take NM-50 to Pecos, turn right onto NM-63 and continue to US 84/85. Take US 84/85 through Rowe. Cross to the south side of I-25 at Ilfed/Sands then continue on US84/85 through Riberia, Serafina/ Bernal and on to Las Vegas. After leaving Las Vegas, travel south on US84 to Romeoville and continue through Charles R. Ranch, Los Montoyas and Dilla. Stay on US84 to I-40 and join I-40 East at Exit 256. Continue on I-40 to Exit 273, close to Santa Rosa, pass under the railroad track then make a left turn at the US -54 junction, cross the Pecos River. Travel through Santa Rosa on Business I-40. Pass under the railroad tracks and continue north on I-40. Leave I-40 in Cuervo at Exit 291. Stay on the frontage road and travel through Newkirk and Montoya. Get back on I-40 at Exit 321 and continue traveling to Exit 329. Leave I-40 here and follow the south frontage road to San Jon and on through Endee and Glenrio to where the pavement ends. At this point, return to I-40 and cross into Texas.