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Cebolla Wilderness

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A Pinyon woodland with a large dead branch in the foreground
Library image #4180: Pinyon woodlands

Introduction

The United States Congress designated the Cebolla Wilderness (map) in 1987 and it now has a total of 61,600 acres. All of this wilderness is located in New Mexico and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Description

Cebolla Wilderness, part of El Malpais National Conservation Area, lies just across State Highway 117 from West Malpais Wilderness but offers easier traveling than the ominously raw volcanic terrain of the badlands. Cebolla shares its eastern border with the Acoma Indian Reservation, but you should avoid crossing the border without first checking with the reservation manager. Primitive two-track trails provide effortless hiking up Cebolla Canyon, Sand Canyon, and Armijo Canyon, all of which feature sandstone bluffs and sandy side washes beneath high mesas, ranging in elevation from about 7,000 to 8,350 feet. Look for evidence of past habitation, from ancient petroglyphs to the ruins of Depression-era homesteads. La Ventana Natural Arch, eroded from sandstone laid down when dinosaurs ruled this territory, anchors the northern portion of what is now primarily forested rimrock. Vertical escarpments provide excellent nesting habitat for golden eagles, prairie falcons, red-tail hawks, and great horned owls. Vegetation is juniper and piƱon dominate with ponderosa pine found on north facing slopes. Of the trails that provide access to this area, La Ventana Arch Trail extends only a few hundred feet to a good viewpoint, Narrows Rim Trail goes for about 3.5 miles along the rim of the mesa with excellent views of lava flows and eding at a viewpoint of La Ventana Arch, Lobo Canyon Trail leqads to a petroglyph and is about 0.75 miles roundtrip, and Homestead Canyon Trail and Armijo Canyon Trail are both about 3.75 miles long. Carry plenty of water, as you won't find any here.

Planning to Visit the Cebolla Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cebolla Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.