Scenic USA - New Mexico

Battleship Rock

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Battleship Rock -  Jemez Trail National Scenic Byway, New Mexico

Photo by Ron McEwan

     Here in north-central New Mexico, the Jemez Mountains stretch northward between the western outskirts of Albuquerque to Los Alamos. This land holds one of the largest concentrations of New Mexico's Indian reservations and pueblos, all surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest and dominated by the Jemez Mountains. A broad, circular ridge surrounds the Valles Caldera, a volcanic zone that gave birth to these mountains made of rhyolite and Bandelier tuff. The high point in the range, Chicoma Peak, rises over 11,000 feet in an area governed by the Jemez Ranger District.
     As New Mexico's Route 4 parallels the Jemez Range, travelers will discovered one of the area's landmarks, the impressive Battleship Rock. Formed of welded tuft (a pyroclastic deposit), Battleship Rock rises nearly 200 feet, creating a good sized battleship. The Battleship Rock Picnic Area, a day use park, also features a pair of trails that lead to McCauley Warm Springs (two mile trail) and Hidden Falls. McCauley Springs, surrounded by a high mountain meadow, hovers around 99 degrees, making an excellent spot for a soak after a hike. An easier hike to Jemez Falls is often touted a great family hike, one that follows a trail that's mostly shaded and offers very little elevation gain.

    Jemez Byway Map

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