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This is the first of a weekly column on day trips from Rio Rancho.



A new adventure awaits every week.

This week, I decided to check out The Jemez Mountains, a mountain range in North Central New Mexico. It is about an hour and a half drive from Rio Rancho, which makes it great for a quick day trip with friends and family. It is also great for hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, and so much more.

At my first stop in the Jemez Mountains, there was Soda Dam. The dam is a great tourist attraction and has a beautiful view of the river. The Soda Dam was formed by formations of calcium carbonate and travertine deposits from thermal spring water that was built up over the course of 7,000 years. The river flows through the dome-like bridge created by the deposition of these minerals across the river. The dam waterfall is 300 feet long, 50 feet high and 50 feet wide at the bottom. It is a beautiful destination and one you will not want to miss this year.

At my next stop, I walked the Las Conchas Trail — known as the East Fork Trail — along the Jemez River. There was some snow on the ground, muddy areas and slippery ice. I recommend going late spring or early summer when there is more luscious greenery all around. If you are going to visit the area soon, be prepared with proper gear. There have been a few widowmakers in this area that could be seen along the trail. If you are hiking, keep that in mind when you are going down the trailhead.

Fenton Lake was the last place on my list. The lake has a gorgeous forest view and unique fishing sites. There are RV and camping sites by the lake. You will have to pay a $5 recreation fee to enter at the gate, so do not forget to have a pen handy in your car to fill out your information.

There is a lot to do and see in this region of New Mexico.

You can visit Soda Dam, Jemez Trail, Battleship Rock, Jemez Springs, Jemez Falls, and so much more. If you are a first-time hiker, visitor, newcomer, or just want to spend the day in the mountains, I hope you will see the many things that makes New Mexico beautiful and enchanted.