Mountainair Meander Loop
The Mountainair Meander is a picturesque ride in the east mountains. Most of the route is open giving expansive views of the surrounding mountains and plains. The stretch paralleling the Manzanos is a little higher and goes through some mixed juniper, pinon, and ponderosa forests. The ride begins at Estancia and rides along the rural highways through Torreon, Monzano, Mountainair, Willard and back to Estancia. This ride has nice views of the Manzano mountains to the west. This ride is a pretty flat with minor hills and is open to winds. Get an early start to avoid the heat or summer thunderstorms.
Historic Quarai Ruins N of Mountainair
The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument visitor center for the Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira Ruins is at the Shaffer hotel at the corner of Broadway & Ripley in Mountainair. An uphill 1-mile paved road west of Punta del Agua takes you past the impressive ruins to the visitor's center and are worth a visit. The turn is signed. The south end of the north-south line of salt lakes in the Estancia valley crosses US60 east of Willard. Take plenty of water since it can get pretty hot on these open roads.
Distance: 60 miles, 2300' elevation gain. pretty flat.
- Tijeras - Mountainair (one way), 54 miles, 3,030' elevation gain.
Getting There: Estancia is about 17 miles south of Moriarty which is about 27 miles east of Albuquerque on I-40, exit 194. There is a post office in town where you can park on Sunday. Just south of town there is a construction lot at the intersection of NM41 and NM55.
Estancia Dry Lakes
Roads: NM41 and NM55 are mostly 2-lane highways without shoulders but with light traffic. Some of the pavement around Tajique is rough but all is in acceptable condition. US60 is 2-lanes with no shoulders but has surprisingly light traffic and has a good surface.
- Also, see the 115 mile Moriarty Loop, or
- The two day Mountainair - Albuquerque 144 Mile Loop (2-day option).
- An uphill 1-mile paved road west in Punta del Agua takes you past the impressive ruins to the Quarai ruins visitor center and are worth a visit. There is a short walk to the ruins. Punta del Agua is about a block long so it's easy to find.
- NM542 from NM41 to NM55 is paved, no traffic, and avoids US60.
- The Salinas National Monument's Gran Quivira ruins are 26 miles south of Mountainair on NM55.
- The Salinas National Monument's Abo Ruins are 9 miles west on US60 (towards I-25) and 1/2 mile north on NM513.
- There is a small grocery in Tajique and there may be a new cafe. Cafes are located near the intersection of NM55 and US60 in Mountainair. A small convienence store and the Willard Cafe are in Willard a couple miles east of the intersection of US60 & NM41. There is a grocery store in Estancia by the post office, visible from NM41, and two convienence stores. Sometimes there is a cafe in Estancia.
- Quarai Ruins Overview | Quarai Ruins Trail Guide | Quarai Ruins Map
- Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
CueSheet - PDF Version of Cuesheet
Mountainair Meander CueSheet // 60 miles, 2300' Elevation Gain
Mileage Waypoint Leg Description
Estancia Take I-40 east from Albuquerque to Moriarty, ' NM41 south to Estancia. Ride east on NM55 towards Tajique. Pass NM337 at 10.3.
Tajique Stay on NM55 as it curves south. Rolling hills.
Torreon Continue south on NM55.
Manzano Continue south on NM55. Rolling Hills.
Punta del Agua Continue south on NM55. Turn off to the Quarai ruins in the center of town, part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. An uphill 1-mile paved road west takes you past the impressive mission ruins to the visitor's center. The intersection is signed. There is a short walk on a gravel trail from the visitor's center to the mission and Tiwa pueblo ruins.[Quarai Ruins Trail Guide]
Mountainair Turn east on US60. Slightly downhill. There are cafes at the intersection. Light traffic.
Jct NM41 and US60 Continue on US60 to Willard, 2 miles, for food at a small convience store in town or turn north on NM41 to Estancia.
Willard There is a convienence store in Willard. Return west on US60.
Jct NM41 and US60 again Turn north on NM41 toward Estancia. Very slightly uphill.
This ride is pretty flat. The short leg to Willard and back is not on the profile below.