Socorro, New Mexico, sits at the foot of the Socorro Mountains. You might think that trail running options would be abundant. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Socorro’s New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) houses the Energetic Materials Research And Testing Center. “Energetic Materials”, in this case, means explosives. The Center uses the mountains to test these materials, which sometimes fail to ignite. Faced with a mountainside of unexploded ordinance, what is a runner to do?
The option presented here is to run the rugged terrain of the Chupadera Hills, southwest of the City. This can be done on BLM lands, open to the public. There are miles of BLM roads. Additionally, an abandoned mining road has been groomed for runners, hikers and mountain bikers. This trail gains about 500 feet in just-under one mile. The map below shows some of the options for using the BLM roads and the new trail.
The groomed portion of the trail is shown in yellow. Options abound for extending this along BLM roads. For example, you could make a 1.6 mile (one way) stretch by starting at the corral on the main BLM road. This extension is shown in orange on the map. Alternatively, you could make a 2.7 mile (one way) stretch by starting at the memorial building on the main BLM road. This option is shown in red.
There are a few things to know about this trail.
- First, there is no shade. During the warmer months it is advisable to do your training in the cool of the morning.
- Second, this is desert terrain. Watch for burrs, thorns and animal life that rattles.
- Third, the surrounding terrain is contracted out for grazing rights. Cattle often graze alongside this trail. They are well-adapted to the presence of humans, but we do ask that you slow down as you go past them. Particularly in drought years the cattle can be under considerable stress.
- The trail and roads are on a clay base – in wet weather the mud will cake up on your shoes pretty quickly.
- Driving directions for the trailhead can be found here