Aquatic Center Trailhead
Contact Info
Bridges Loop Bridge

Aquatic Center Trailhead
Located on the edge of Acid Canyon, the Aquatic Center Trailhead provides access to the central portion of the Los Alamos Trail Network. Trails lead to Pueblo Canyon and the Pueblo Benches, to Walnut Canyon, and to Bayo Canyon. The routes offer easy hiking and easy to moderate mountain biking. The trails include the Acid Canyon, Ranch School, South Pueblo Bench, Pueblo Canyon Rim, and the Pueblo Canyon trails. Because of its central location, easy access, ample parking, and short and easy trails, this area is a great starting place to explore the County’s trail network.

Finding the Aquatic Center Trailhead
Finding the Trailhead: From 15th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Los Alamos, head west (towards the Jemez Mountains) on Central. In 0.4 miles, past Ashley Pond and the Mesa Public Library, turn right into the Aquatic Center parking area. Ample parking is available. The trailhead is just left of the entrance to the Aquatic Center

 

Download the Trailhead Info Guide


Using Los Alamos County Open Space

The Los Alamos County Trail Network is open to non-motorized use only.

Resource Protection
All cultural resources such as Ancestral Pueblo room blocks, pot shards, petroglyphs, and historical artifacts are protected by Federal and State law. Let all cultural resources lie undisturbed.

Share the Trail
These are multi-use trails for pedestrians, equestrians, and bicyclists. Bicyclists should yield to all other users.

Dogs in Los Alamos County Open Space
All dogs must be on a leash when within 100 yards of a trailhead. Dogs must be under voice and sight control at all times.

Safety
When exploring, please stay on marked trails. Always carry water, sunscreen, a hat, extra clothing, a flashlight, and a navigational aid.
Trailhead guides are available at major trailheads, the Los Alamos County Customer Care Center in the Municipal Building, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, and online.

Acid Canyon Loop

Here’s one of the few short and easy hiking trips in Los Alamos. The loop is less than a mile and most of the loop follows a bedrock fire road through beautiful open pine stands. The return leg uses a steep trail built around 1920 by the Los Alamos Ranch School. All of this on the edge of downtown!

 

Length: 0.9 Miles
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Fitness Level: Easy
Features: Mature Ponderosa Pine stands, isolation within the downtown area
Trail Surface: Packed Dirt
Mountain Bike Skill Level: Challenging

 

From the kiosk, take the trail heading north. In a few yards, bear left, head downhill, and bear left again. In a minute come to a fire road near a hefty gate. Skirt around on the trail that goes right of the gate and rejoin the fire road. The road heads gradually downhill, then curls around to head east parallel to the drainage of Acid Canyon.

 

After passing a long bridge to the left, swing right and cross a small wooden bridge. Climb on a bedrock ramp; bear right, and in a few yards cross the drainage on a low bridge. Follow switchbacks up to the mesa top. At the entrance to Kinnikinnik Park, head straight to the trailhead or take a short detour through the park.

Download a map & description onto your mobile device: EveryTrail for Acid Canyon Loop


Acid Canyon Loop

Bridges Loop

Two bridges over Pueblo Canyon installed in 1999 at the prompting of the Los Alamos Pathways Association make this trip possible.

Length:
 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 250 feet
Fitness Level: Moderate
Features: Historic trail, deep canyons
Trail Surface: Packed dirt, asphalt

Mountain Bike Skill Level: Challenging

 

From the trailhead, travel north and make the first right turn. At the top of the cliff, turn right to follow the sharp switchbacks and log stairs of the Ranch School Trail. At the first trail fork, bear left onto the Acid Canyon Trail. Cross a wooden bridge and then come to the larger Acid Canyon Bridge. Turn right, cross the bridge, and then turn right at signpost onto the South Bench Trail. After heading uphill, bear right onto a single-track. After a quarter mile, skirt a large disturbed field, then head toward the canyon and cross on the Pueblo Canyon Bridge.

 

On the north side of Pueblo Canyon, turn left onto the North Pueblo Bench Trail. This trail winds among the rocks and through three drainages. After about a half mile, turn left onto the Homestead Crossing (there is a signpost about 50 feet down the trail). Cross the Homestead Bridge and immediately turn left to head uphill. In 200 feet, turn left onto the South Pueblo Bench Trail. Follow this trail 0.2 mile to a fork, and then turn left. In a quarter mile, again come to the edge of the large disturbed area. Turn right, then angle right to skirt to the right of what looks like a parking area. In a minute, bear left to walk over a culvert and meet Olive Street. Just across the street, pick up the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) Nature Trail and turn right. Follow this trail to its end on Olive Street, turn left onto the road and continue to the Olive Street parking area. Travel through the parking area to Orange Street. Turn left and walk a few yards to 35th Street, turn right and head to the cul-de-sac. Pick up the South Bench Trail at the end of the street and head down into Acid Canyon.

 

Pass a short bridge to the right and continue straight amid the rocks along the trail. Angle right, cross the bridge, and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Download a map & description onto your mobile device: EveryTrail for Bridges Loop

Bridges Loop

Pueblo Rim/Canyon Loop

Pueblo Canyon is in the Pajarito Plateau that runs through the center of Los Alamos. Trails follow the canyon bottom and the south rim, but the north rim is a shear wall of orange volcanic tuff, spewed as ash from the Valles Caldera about one million years ago. The south rim route offers stunning views of the canyon and the mountains of northern New Mexico, while the canyon trail passes through tall ponderosa pines in open stands. Also, within the canyon are clusters of tent rocks created by dense rock capping spires of tuff. This loop follows the rim, drops into the canyon on the appropriately named Zipline Trail, and picks up the Tent Rocks Trail to wind back to the west.

Length: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet
Fitness Level: Difficult
Features: 360-degree views
Trail Surface: Packed dirt, asphalt
Field Notes: Foot traffic only

 

Head north on the Ranch School Trail past the entrance to Kinnikinnik Park and down a broad switchback into Acid Canyon. Stay right at the junction with the Acid Canyon Trail, and then, just before dropping into a narrow canyon, bear right onto the Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail. This trail follows a fence line and climbs four tight switchbacks before leveling out on a bench trail that continues for about a mile. Round the point of Graduation Canyon and pick up the trail with the same name, heading south and out of the canyon.

In a few minutes, reach the paved Los Alamos Mesa Trail. Turn left and continue to near the end of that trail where the Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail continues as a dirt path.

 

Skirt behind the Los Alamos Airport buildings and continue east as the trail parallels the airport fence. A few yards after a steep drop, the Zipline Trail turns off to the left. The Zipline Trail wastes no time descending into the canyon on more than a dozen steep switchbacks. Near the canyon bottom, turn left onto the Tent Rocks Trail. This trail winds through pine forest for about a mile before crossing the channel and ending at the Pueblo Canyon Trail. Turn left and continue up the canyon and past tent rocks. After the second stream crossing, stay left and watch for the Ranch School Trail. Turn left onto this trail, cross the stream again, and follow the trail back to the trailhead.

Download a map & description onto your mobile device: EveryTrail for Pueblo Rim/Canyon Loop

Pueblo Rim/Canyon Loop