Day 3b – “Desert Pass”: Truchas to Chimayó

Description: This non-standard route goes some incredible wilderness areas. You will be walking through large arroyos and quiet places. There is no water along the route. It is extremely isolated with no phone service, and you must have a GPS to follow the route as there are no signs. Like the mountain pass, it is very easy to get lost. The route goes through Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. For those desiring to get off the road, this is an alternative to the experience pilgrim and hiker who is prepared. Because you will be walking in a huge arroyo, DO NOT walk when it is forecasted to rain! You could easily drown!


Route Preparation+Details

GPS FILE (.kmz)

Mileage: 10.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 649 ft

Elevation Loss: -2561 ft

High Point: 8,048 feet

Low Point: 6,104 feet


General Directions:

0.0 – From the old church in downtown Truchas, head west towards NM-76
0.2 – Beginning at NM-76, head south
1.68 – Turn right on Road 1301
3.50 – Turn left on a dirt road to continue on the mesa.  At this point, the trail can get quite complicated and this is where a GPS is necessary. 
3.38 – Turn left on a dirt road headed south, to the bottom of the mesa. Just before this turn, there is another dirt road that appears to go to the bottom, but dead-ends after half a mile. Be sure to take the correct road! (SEE GPS file!)
7.52 – Turn right on the large arroyo. 
8.95 – Turn left on dirt road, and then continue to cross over the earthen dam. 
9.40 – Dirt road officially turns into CR 100
9.77 – Turn left on CR 101
9.88 – Turn right on NM-76 
10.0 – Turn right on NM-98
10.9 – Turn left on Santuario Drive 



Plenty of Airbnb’s exists in Truchas and Chimayó, but there is nothing between. In addition, there are some fantastic bed and breakfast options throughout Chimayó.



No food along the way as you are of course in a desert. 

In Truchas, there is a newer coffee shop/bakery called Truchas General Mercantile. In Chimayó, there is no grocery store but you can get some light snacks at some of the shops in the main plaza area of Chimayó (near Ortega’s Weaving Shop) and the Santuario itself. 


Interesting things along route

Wildlife, Wilderness



TRUCHAS – Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church (old church and new church)

Both churches being quite beautiful in their own way, the old church’s date of construction beats the new church most likely by 150-200 years. The old church in the plaza of Truchas has been recently restored. Because the old church lacks modern HVAC (with the exception of a small oven), Sunday masses are usually help in the new church during the winter, and in the summer they switch to the old church. 


GPS Coordinates of old church

GPS Coordinates of new church



CHIMAYÓ – Holy Family Parish

The mother church of all the churches in Chimayó and the neighboring villages. To see mass times for Holy Family parish and the missions, check the website and view the bulletins.  

Address: 1440 NM-76 #10, Chimayó, NM 87522

Phone: (505) 351-4360

GPS Coordinates


CHIMAYÓ – El Santuario de Chimayó

The church of pilgrims. There is so much to say about this place, and when I have some time I will make a page describing the church. 

Address: 1445 NM-503, Chimayo, NM 87522

Phone: (505) 351-4889

GPS Coordinates