Rendija Crack Loop
Contact Info

Rendija is the Spanish word for crack, and in this case it is a reference to a point in Rendija Canyon where the rhyolite walls pinch in to create a narrow passage only a few yards wide. It is an attractive spot—craggy rocks, perpetually shaded, cool in summer, and icy-cold in winter. The best way to explore the crack is using 100-year-old roads. O. O. Grant, called Dot by his family, set up a homestead at the current location of the Guaje Pines Cemetery. A road connecting to the Rio Grande Valley led up Rendija Canyon to the site, and then continued along a tributary drainage to reach other homesteads on the mesa top near the present golf course. These roads form the backbone of the trail network today, but as reminders of their origin, visible throughout are ruts from cart traffic are gouged in the soft tuff.

 Length 3.6 miles
 Elevation Gain 300 feet
 Trail Surface packed dirt
 Features interesting canyon, historic roads
 Rating for foot traffic moderate
 Rating for mountain bikes moderate
 Rating for horse traffic not recommended

Finding the Trailhead: From 15th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Los Alamos, head west (towards the Jemez Mountains) on Central. In 0.8 miles, past Ashley Pond and the Aquatic Center, turn right onto Diamond Drive. Pass the Los Alamos High School and the Los Alamos Golf Course. At the San Ildefonso roundabout located 2.4 miles from the intersection of Central and Diamond, circle half-way through the roundabout and briefly head uphill on North Mesa Road. The trailhead is about 100 feet from the roundabout on the left and there is parking for about six vehicles.

Rendija Crack Loop

From the trailhead, head down hill through the colorful tunnel. On the west side, find the Dot Grant Trail angling to the right. The trail winds among rocks and ponderosa pines before meeting the Upper Rendija Trail. Turn left, drop through a switchback and an s-turn, staying right at two minor junctions. The trail reaches a sheer wall of rhyolite about a mile from the start. Near the wall, turn right onto the Rendija Trail and pass through the crack. Continue down Rendija Canyon about one mile, passing the Cabra Loop Trail, to meet the Pajarito Trail. Turn right and climb eroded switchbacks to reach a parking area. Head straight, cross Rendija Canyon Road and pick up the unmarked Barranca Crossing on the south side of the gravel road. The Crossing begins as an old road ascending the slopes of Barranca Mesa. After the road narrows, cross Barranca Road and pick up the trail on the other side. Descend to the North Bayo Bench and turn right on the trail of the same name. The trailhead is a little less than a mile away.

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Contact Information


Open Space Specialist 
Eric Peterson 
505 663-1776