General Trip Planning Information
La Ventana Arch Trail
From Interstate 40, drive south on NM Hwy 117 for approximately 8.5 miles from the BLM Ranger Station (17.5 miles from I-40) to the parking area on the left. The arch is visible from the road and the trail is only a few hundred feet long to a good view point.
Narrows Rim Trail
The trailhead and parking area for the Narrows Rim Trail are located at the south end of the Narrows Picnic Area 21.5 miles south of I-40 on NM 117. The trail is approximately 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip) along the rim of the mesa with excellent views of the lava flows and ending at a viewpoint of La Ventana Arch.
Lobo Canyon Trail
From I-40, drive 26 miles south on NM Hwy 117 to the Cebolla Canyon Rd. Drive approximately 5 miles (passing the Sand Canyon Rd. at approximately 3 miles) to a parking area on the right side of the road. The trailhead is on the north side of the road and leads to a petroglyph area. The hike is approximately ¾ of a mile roundtrip.
Homestead Canyon Trail
From I-40, drive 31.6 miles south on NM Hwy 117 to CR 41 (gravel, known as “the Pietown road”). Drive south on CR 41 for approximately 2.3 miles to Homestead Canyon Rd and turn left. Drive for just over 1 mile to a parking area on the wilderness boundary. The trail is a closed road 3 ¾ miles long connecting to the Sand Canyon Road.
Armijo Canyon Trail
From I-40, drive 31.6 miles south on NM Hwy 117 to CR 41 (gravel, known as “the Pietown road”). Drive south on CR 41 for approximately 3.7 miles until you reach a sign for Armijo Canyon, which will be on the east side of the road. Turn left and after approximately 1.5 miles there is a parking area at the wilderness boundary. Hike past the fence and along a closed 2-track road for approximately 3 ¾ miles long connecting to the Sand Canyon Road.
The 61,600 acre Cebolla Wilderness is made up of Sandstone mesas, canyons, and grassy valleys. Juniper and piñon dominate and ponderosa pine is found on north facing slopes. Vertical escarpments provide excellent nesting habitat for golden eagles, prairie falcons, red-tail hawks, and great horned owls. The Cebolla Wilderness is rich in prehistoric archaeological sites, petroglyphs, and historic homesteads. One notable archaeological site is the Dittert Site. Sometime between A.D. 1000 and 1300, the Dittert Site was built and inhabited by the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indian people. The Cebolla Wilderness also contains La Ventana Natural Arch, a dramatic arch sculpted through wind and water erosion in the sandstone cliffs. The Wilderness is located within the El Malpais National Conservation Area.
In general, the area offers opportunities for hiking, camping, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
There are no reliable water sources in Cebolla Wilderness or in the surrounding area. Visitors must carry all the water they will need for the duration of the trip.
The trailhead for the La Ventana Arch trail, and the first portion of the trail are accessible for people with disabilities.
Safety and Current Conditions
The La Ventana Arch and Narrows Rim Trails are accessed by paved roads. All other trails are dirt roads requiring suitable clearance. Conditions of roads can change at any time due to weather. Drivers should avoid dirt roads during rain or snow. Drivers should be cautious of wash-out following rain or snowmelt.
Though camping in the Wilderness is a rewarding experience, there are no reliable water sources. Visitors must carry all the water they will need for the duration of the trip.
Dirt roads in this area can become very slick, sticky, and sometimes impassable during and after rain and snowfall. Check local weather information or contact the El Malpais Ranger station (505-280-2918) prior to travel.