The Sabinoso Wilderness is in a remote area of the northeastern portion of New Mexico. The wilderness is located in the short-grass prairie region of the Great Plains along the Canadian Escarpment where the Las Vegas Plateau drops away to the Canadian River. Though grassland predominates around the wilderness, the deeply incised topography of the Canadian Escarpment is covered by juniper trees, with pockets of ponderosa in sheltered canyons and north facing slopes. The name Sabinoso refers to the abundance of junipers in this region. A prominent feature of the Wilderness is Canyon Largo, which is a deep canyon cut into colorful sandstone. A small intermittent but perennial stream flows in the canyon, providing a water source for wildlife and cottonwood trees. The wilderness lies predominantly to the south of Canyon Largo, featuring mesas and rugged terrain, and, from the higher vantage points, long views across the plains to the east. The large deep canyons and mesas of the escarpment create a unique and striking topographical and geological contrast in the otherwise flat, wide open terrain of the New Mexico plains. The colored sandstone cliffs and treed slopes provide a scenic setting for hiking, horseback riding, hunting, camping, and nature observation.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Sabinoso Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
This is an arid environment with little available water. Make sure to bring plenty of water.
From I-25 take exit 345 on to NM104 heading east. Travel 32.7 miles east to Trujillo, NM. Turn left on to San Miguel County Road C51A at Trujillo and travel east for approximately 7 miles on an improved dirt road. Follow BLM directional signs by turning left at the Y and heading north for 3 miles on the lightly maintained route to the Sabinoso Wilderness parking area. This road is not passable when wet. Please leave gates as you find them.
Primitive forms of recreation, such as hiking, backpacking, camping, wildlife viewing, photography, and horseback riding may be enjoyed. Trails in the wilderness consist of some abandoned vehicle routes (closed to vehicles). Through a management plan, the BLM will be determining which of these to adapt into a trail system.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Occurring primarily in spring and summer, annual precipitation ranges between 14 and 18 inches. Water is scarce in the wilderness, so you will need to bring sufficient water with you on your visit.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.