Picture this: a motorcycle-only trail system in the beautiful New Mexico backcountry. Miles of off-road trails just for bikers like yourself. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Good news: that dream has become a reality with the opening of the Elephant Rock Trail in New Mexico. This motorcycle-only trail opened in 2020 and has been attracting off-road motorcyclists ever since.
Here’s what you need to know about the Elephant Rock Trail system.
Elephant Rock Trail: The Backstory
The idea for Elephant Rock Trail’s development began in 2019. New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) and various local organizations started raising funds for a rail system that would serve as an excellent resource for dual-sport and adventuring motorcycles to off-highway in a safe, designated area.
The total project cost was $70,000, and funding from local groups like Backcountry Discovery Routes made the trail possible. Work began on July 1, 2019, and the trail officially opened in 2020.
About This New Mexico Motorcycle Trail System
The Elephant Rock OHV Trails Network consists of almost 25 miles of old mining roads near Red River, New Mexico. The network is located within the Carson National Forest, providing the perfect woodsy atmosphere for off-highway rides on your motorcycle. Its elevation is around 8,500 feet, meaning that cold weather may cause the trail to close in the winter months.
The trail system has four narrow entry points specifically for motorcycles and other sports bikes, preventing four-wheeled vehicles from entering. The main loop has a capacity for bikes between 500 and 700 pounds. Various loops throughout the trail range in difficulty, enabling riders of intermediate and advanced skill levels to enjoy the park.
If you’re planning to visit Elephant Rock Trail for an overnight trip, you can take advantage of the Fawn Lakes 18-site campground nearby. You’ll also find plenty of lodging in the greater Red River area.
Off-Roading on Elephant Rock Trail in New Mexico
Elephant Rock Trail requires a permit to ride.
The most popular trail in the system is the Elephant Rock Loop. This loop spans 12 miles and has a “Very Difficult” rating. If you’re new to off-roading or biking in general, you may want to build your skills on an easier route before attempting this one.
While you don’t need to pay to get into the park itself, you will need an off-highway vehicle (OHV) permit to ride your motorcycle on these trails. New Mexico has strict OHV permit requirements. You’ll either need to purchase a permit in New Mexico, if you’re a resident, or bring proof of an OHV permit from your home state. Alternatively, you can purchase a non-resident permit in New Mexico.
Tips for Off-Roading on the Elephant Rock Trail
If you’ve never ridden your motorcycle through dirt trails before, the Elephant Rock Trail in New Mexico is a safe space to do so. However, you’ll want to prepare accordingly before you set off on these trails. Off-roading is very different from riding on pavement, and you don’t want to make any rash decisions that could lead to a crash.
Here are a few off-roading tips for new riders:
- Don’t ride alone — bring a friend.
- Wear the right adventure gear, including grippy boots, a well-fitting helmet, pads, and long sleeves and pants.
- Learn to stand up while riding to give yourself more steering power.
- Use your front brake to slow down and stop.
If you ever become a motorcycle accident victim, our Law Tigers team can help. Contact Law Tigers motorcycle accident attorneys today at 1-888-863-7216 to schedule your free case evaluation.