10 Things You Didn’t Know about Nambe Falls

Nambe Falls

How much do you know about Nambe Falls, an excitingly rugged area in New Mexico that is capable of breathtaking beauty? It’s one of the more popular areas in the state to hike and the view is definitely worth it when you get there. That said, there are some things that you should know about the area if you’re not already aware. Below are 10 things you didn’t know about Nambe Falls.

1. The falls are man-made

If it weren’t for a project called the San Juan-Chama Project, the falls wouldn’t exist as you know them today. As a matter of fact, the area around the falls is exceptionally arid, more desert-like than anything else. The falls are an ongoing part of the Nambe Reclamation Project, the same government entity that is also responsible for maintaining the area.

2. The area is usually closed during the coldest parts of the year

More often than not, the area closes in early to mid-November and doesn’t open again until at least mid-March. That’s because winters in this particular area can sometimes be brutal. More importantly, winter storms can come out of nowhere, with little or no warning. The falls are usually closed during this time in order to protect would-be spectators from potentially hazardous cold weather, effectively preventing them from being caught off guard in the middle of nowhere. It’s worth noting that the falls are about 25 miles away from anything else of note. Therefore, it would be far less than ideal to get stranded out there.

3. There isn’t any lodging available there

There is no lodging in the area, so it’s definitely a day trip. There are plenty of places to go hiking, fishing and even boating. That said, you’ll have to plan your trip accordingly so that you can enjoy everything the falls have to offer and still make it back to reasonable accommodations before dark.

4. You can purchase necessities at the ranger station

It’s also worth noting that there aren’t any stores in the area. That said, you can purchase some basic necessities at the ranger station, provided they have those items in stock at the time. This definitely isn’t a sure thing, so you really shouldn’t count on being able to get whatever you think you’re going to need there. However, they do provide some important items to the best of their ability, something that can be a huge help when you’re running low on something and you didn’t realize it until the last minute.

5. It’s a good idea to come prepared

As previously mentioned, the ranger station doesn’t always have everything that you need. Therefore, it’s a good idea to come prepared. You’ll actually be saving yourself a lot of hassle if you make sure that you have everything you need before you get there. That includes not only the items that you need to enjoy yourself and have fun, but also the basics like a first aid kit, plenty of water, non-perishable food and some blankets.

6. The hiking trail is not for beginners

In order to see the falls, you have to hike up an especially strenuous trail. It’s definitely not the easiest hike in the world and it’s one that takes place at elevation (144 feet). As a result, it’s really not a good idea to make the decision to hike this area if you’ve never hiked before. It’s best to cut your teeth on something that’s a little bit easier and then work your way up to a hike like this. The rewards here are many, but so are the risks.

7. The water is exceptionally cold

A lot of people are surprised to learn that the water at the falls is extremely cold. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is, the water remains almost the same temperature. Even during the warmest months of the year, the water is so cold that it would be potentially dangerous for someone to spend too much time near it, much less swim in it.

8. You can bring your dog

If you’re interested in hiking with your dog, you are in luck because you can bring your dog on this trail, provided you always keep them on a leash. A lot of people love the idea of hiking with their dog and many simply won’t go anywhere without them. If you happen to be one of these individuals, you won’t have to worry about anyone telling you that you can’t hike with your dog here. Of course, you should utilize the same level of caution for your pet that you would use for yourself or anyone else who is hiking with you. Remember, you’re in a rugged area that is several miles from any area with a relatively dense population. You don’t want to get yourself or your pet into trouble, so it’s important to remember these facts and err on the side of caution as opposed to being a bit too adventurous.

9. The trail is short, yet it often feels much longer

A lot of people are intrigued to learn the trail is only a half mile in length. That’s because it typically feels a lot longer, largely due to its rather strenuous nature. Fortunately, it’s an area that is definitely worth seeing, so you know that you’ve truly accomplished something once you make it to the top.

10. There is a second trail

If you’re not particularly comfortable with the idea of hiking a strenuous trail up 144 feet, you might want to know that there is a second trail that is much more user-friendly. Granted, you may not get to see all of the same sites as the individual who hikes up the more challenging trail, but you can still get out and enjoy the area. This second trail is also great for individuals who are recovering from injuries or who have young children with them, as it doesn’t require nearly as much skill or stamina to make it to the top.

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