Kitchen Mesa Trail

1 review #4 hike out of 72 in
4.6 mi
2 hrs 30 min
591 ft
Elev Gain


This is a difficult trail in Ghost Ranch.

From the trail head, the trail climbs steadily uphill as it passes the site of fossil digs and around a canyon. It becomes very steep as it ascends the mesa. There is a section that requires a class 3 climb. (No ropes or harness needed, but you'll use your hands as you climb.) This steep section will probably prove too much for people with balance issues, people carrying small children, or people hiking with pets.

The hike is mostly level after making it to the top of the mesa. You'll hike nearly a mile across the top for a view of the Ghost Ranch valley.

Getting Started

Check in at the visitor center. The trailhead is about 3/4 of a mile further down the road past the visitor center. There is parking at the trailhead, so feel free to drive all the way in. You'll pass the Georgia O'Keefe cabin, the Arts & Craft Center, the Yurt, and the Labyrinth on the way.

From the trailhead, you'll walk in about 50 feet before turning right to drop into the gully and hop over the creek.

Taking Children

Because of the steep climb to the top of the mesa, this is a tough hike for anyone who isn't confident climbing boulders. No technical climbing experience is necessary, but some parents might not be comfortable making the climb with less sure-footed toddlers. The Chimney Rock trail might be a better choice. If your kids are adventurous and like climbing boulders, though, this might be their favorite hike ever.

    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    1 year, 7 months ago
    Beautiful, rugged terrain. It's a great place to show off the beauty of New Mexico to out-of-state visitors. I made the climb with five kids ranging in age from 2 to 12. I was never nervous carrying my toddler up the steep ascent onto the mesa, but I have a lot of experience carrying kids on precarious terrain. We passed a few groups during our hike on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It never felt crowded.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Public Tracks

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