The next time you find yourself road tripping across the American southwest, pull off Interstate 40 just west of Gallup, New Mexico, to ride the High Desert Trail System. The singletrack snakes up and down past unique stone features and plays host to a 12-hour mountain bike race.
The system is well-maintained and well-signed. The main ride links three different trails to provide you with a loop, beginning with a nice, green-level trail to warm up your legs. Expect some steady climbs, technical spots, sandy sections, expansive views and rocky exposure on this beginner to intermediate ride.
At the top of the loop, you have the option to add up to 12 miles of out-and-back trail by traveling further east toward Gallup. The loop pictured here is just under 14 miles. Adding the additional intermediate trails beyond can provide you with a big day of about 26 miles.
Photos courtesy of MTB Project.