THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
– MODERATE –
- Hours: Always Open
- Trail Length: 1 Mile Round Trip
- Elevation Gain: 308 feet
- Pets: Allowed
- Seasonal Portable Restroom
- Parking Lot
- Located on BLM Land
- Dispersed Camping at Lot
THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED
- Trail Map
- Athletic Shoes/Hiking Boots
ABOUT THE AREA
Manby Hot Spring is located near Taos, New Mexico within the boundaries of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. The town of Taos takes its name from the nearby Taos Pueblo, a Native American village, and World Heritage Site. Taos truly has something for everyone. It features a vibrant art, music, and cultural scene. The surrounding area contains both the Rocky Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge. Outdoor enthusiasts have so many options, including rafting on the Rio Grande, hiking, biking, and world-class ski resorts in the winter months.
FINDING THE TRAILHEAD
The trailhead is located on the top of the east wall of the Rio Grand Gorge. There is a large parking lot, and since this is located on BLM land, dispersed camping is allowed and free. There are two access roads to the trailhead, one from the north and one from the south. Both routes will take you on approximately 4 mile sections of Tune Drive, which winds through a neighborhood of estate homes on the way to the canyon. The majority of the roads are gravel, but when we visited the washboards were unbearable in our small Lexus hatchback. The lats few hundred yards of the drive, you will find roads that are dirt and have ruts in some areas. We made it without issue in a minimal clearance vehicle. If the roads were wet, we would not have made it, but any vehicle with clearance or AWD shouldn’t have an issue driving around the ruts on higher ground.
HIKING DOWN THE GORGE TO THE HOT SPRINGS
The hot springs are located on the Rio Grande River. To access the hot springs, you will need to hike down the side of the gorge to the river below. The trail down is well marked, and at only 1/2 mile in length it makes for a quick trip to the spring. The gradual descent provides view of rocky outcroppings, desert landscape, and sweeping views of the gorge.
SOAKING ALONG THE RIO GRANDE
Once you reach the hot springs, you will find the ruins of an old bathhouse, and three pools. As with most hot springs, the lower pools will not be as hot as the upper, but the average temperatures are between 90° and 100°F. The two lower pools are out in the open right along the river, while the upper pool is nestled against a rock wall which provides some added seclusion. As with most primitive hot springs, clothing can be considered optional. Due to its proximity to population though, expect to see other hikers, fishermen, and boaters passing by on the river.
HIKING OUT OF THE RIO GRANDE GORGE
After you are refreshed from your relaxing soak in the hot spring, expect a moderately difficult ascent back to the parking lot. The 1/2 mile hike has 308 feet of climb, and will take you back up the same trail you came down earlier. Keep your camera handy on the way out, as the light is always changing in landscapes like these, and you may find an entirely different scene from just a few hours earlier. Expect this part of the hike to be more difficult in the hot summer months, which is why we recommend bringing water and staying hydrated.
Remember, areas like these are not maintained by BLM. It is our responsibility to leave these places better then we found them.