Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Hiking Trail or Trailhead

Gooseberry Springs Trail - Mt. Taylor

Gooseberry Springs trailhead access on Forest Road 193
"Fairly clear" guidance - Trail 77.
Open valley near the Spring.
Above Rinconada Canyon on Trail 77.
Approaching switchbacks to peak.
Mount Taylor summit and register box.
Switchbacking down off the summit to southwest.
La Mosca Fire Lookout, one mile northwest of peak.

The Gooseberry Springs Trail takes hikers from the slopes of Horace Mesa up to the peak of Mount Taylor - the highest peak in northwestern New Mexico and a sacred mountain to many of the regional Native cultures. It is one of the four sacred peaks that define the Navajo ancestral lands.   Views from the summit of this ancient stratovolcano are spectacular; the peak is wide open in three directions, with dense forest on the northwestern slope.  

The peak is also the high point, literally, of the annual Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon (separate entry), a 43-mile endurance challenge  by bike, foot, ski and snowshoe.

The Gooseberry Springs Trail is a steady, moderately steep hike that climbs 2000 feet in 3.1 miles to the summit at 11,301-foot elevation.  The trailhead, at the 9300-foot level, is reached by driving 13 miles northeast from Grants on Lobo Canyon Road ( NM 547) then at  pavement's end, go 5 miles southeast on Forest Road 193.  The trailhead marker (Trail 77) is on the left while parking is on the right (If you come to a right-hand road fork, you've gone a bit too far).

This hike is on Cibola National Forest lands.  It begins in mixed pine and aspen forest and climbs steadily up-canyon for a half-mile or so, passing Gooseberry Spring below the trail on the left.  It soon breaks out of the forest and crosses areas of broad meadow with sweeping views to the west and south.  Crossing a saddle, the trail sidehills in the open above deep Rinconada Canyon, then beyond another saddle it  switchbacks northward and upward across a steep grassy slope.  A final short rocky stretch leads to the summit. 

At the peak is a metal elevation sign and hikers' log; it's a great lunch spot with endless views.  The summit winds can be a bit "intrusive," but thick trees on the north side offer good shelter for that lunch break.  The La Mosca Fire Lookout and antenna farm are visible a mile to the northeast; a faint trail off the summit leads east, down to FR 453, the lookout access road.   Return west again from the summit to the trailhead parking area.

Be aware that the summer monsoon season brings storms to the high peaks, and lightning.  Always check with the local Forest Service for the weather and road conditions.

Vertical Gain or Loss: 2000 ft total climb - from approx 9,300 feet to 11,301 elevation.

Trail Distance: Sources vary, about 3.5 miles one-way.

 ADA Accessibility Notes


 Eco-Friendly Notes

The lower slopes of Mt Taylor near the trailhead do host a limited amount of grazing, and small steel stock tanks are found in the lower canyon section, which are fed by Gooseberry Springs.

 Pet Friendly Notes

Be aware of grazing stock in lower areas of the trail.

For More Information, Contact:
1800 Lobo Canyon Road, Grants, NM 87020


USDA-Forest Service Mt. Taylor Ranger District



Mt Taylor Ranger District


Roberto wrote on October 04, 2014: All very true, we have been on this trail hunting,with our kids when they were little & today 10/4/14 just to relax, great exercise and spectacular views. Easy trail despite its steep climb...unless your visiting from near sea If your adventurous spirit gets you there near sunrise you can often see large Elks roaming around near the summit. Take plenty of water as it can still be quite hot in the summer months.....enjoy !!!!:-)

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 35.219167000
Longitude: -107.636666000
Elevation: 9291 FT (2832 M)
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